Sunday, April 17, 2016

Better than Fiction

And for a something a little different - during some Shabbos at my in-laws' in Jan/Feb (forgot when), I neglected to bring reading material from my house, and had to make do with what was there.  They recently reorganized their books, so there was lots of new scope, and, to my delight, I came across Cheaper by the Dozen. I'm not sure when the last time I read this book was, but I don't think it'll be long before I read it again :) (must order a copy).   History of this book goes back a while, and it's fun to go down memory lane.  One day in CL, Peryl started telling me about a really funny book she had read about a family with a dozen kids.  The specific story she told me was, if I recall correctly, the story of the Peeping Tom and Ernestine, and I was very intrigued.  I got the book out of the Peckville Library (the old Interboro Library) and loved it.  Read it many, many times since then (I was certainly in elementary school when I first read it, though I'm not sure what age), and read Belles on Their Toes as well (that one used to be harder to find, I remember being excited when I picked it up in Towson).  Rereading it now, it's funny how many of the references I understand that flew over my head.  Some innuendo, but some more intellectual ones.  I'm sure I understood them in later readings, but I've forgotten those and the earlier ones stick in my head.  Anyway back up memory lane...

This book is great! It is, literally, laugh-out-loud funny.  The writing is neat, quick, fresh, and amusing - every phrase is well turned.  And while it's strange to speak of characterization in a non-fiction book, the characterization of bother Mother and Dad (forgetting what they call him at the moment) Gilbreth is fantastic.  I picked the book up expecting to just read a little, and then kept on reading most of Shabbos. Finished it this past Shabbos on Friday night.  There are so many moments in there that I feel like have stuck in my consciousness without me even realizing where they are from. And quotes that make me smile every time I hear. It's classic.

It's also kind of fun reading about NJ now that I am a resident of this fine state :)  Montclair, of course (I looked up Eagle Rock Way on google maps, it's still there), but even New Brunswick was mentioned once or twice.  Also interesting to look up the Gilbreths on Wikipedia and follow them for a bit - not much info there, but the last one (Fred I think) just passed away a few months ago as it turns out.

Anyway, I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed this book and will definitely be handing it over to my kiddos when they are old enough to start appreciating it (maybe 5-6 years, that's all, iyH :)) So glad I picked this one up again, and I'm sure I'll follow it up with Belles on their Toes at some point.

Verdict: 5/5

(p.s. the pic is the original version that I read)

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