NONFICTION

Looking for Betty MacDonald: The Egg, the Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and I

Univ. of Washington. Sept. 2016. 304p. photos. notes. index. ISBN 9780295999364. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780295999371. LIT
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This first biography of Betty MacDonald (1908–58), best known as the author of The Egg and I, the "Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle" children's books, and creator of the iconic characters of Ma and Pa Kettle, is sure to be a must read for fans. Becker (staff historian, HistoryLink.org; coauthor, The Future Remembered) was granted access to MacDonald's archives including family-held materials no one had ever seen before. Becker is a longtime admirer and documents MacDonald's life with great love and respect. She covers MacDonald's unconventional family and childhood, her stay in a tuberculosis sanitarium, her marriages, writing career, and death. MacDonald's madcap and humorous life as written in her memoirs turns out to have a much darker side. With a generous number of photos, a family tree, a list of MacDonald's houses, Bard family "isms," extensive notes, an index, and further reading, this volume with send readers away satisfied and eager to reread their favorite MacDonald books.
VERDICT Written in an easygoing style for the general reader, this book will appeal to anyone familiar with MacDonald's books who has found themselves curious about the author.

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