In her celebrated fiction, Shirley Jackson explored the darkness lurking beneath the surface of small-town America. But in Life Among the Savages, she takes on the lighter side of small-town life. In this witty and warm memoir of her family's life in rural Vermont, she delightfully exposes a domestic side in cheerful contrast to her quietly terrifying fiction. With a novelist's gift for character, an unfailing maternal instinct, and her signature humor, Jackson turns everyday family experiences into brilliant adventures.
©1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953; renewed 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981 Shirley Jackson; renewed Laurence Hyman, Joan Schnurer, Barry Hyman, and Sarah Webster (P)2015 Dreamscape Media, LLC
"At a moment when helicopter parenting is the norm, 'free-range' parents are chastised for letting their children wander a few blocks alone, and the pressure feels greater than ever not only to 'have it all' but to 'be it all' - to manage both to pursue a successful career and to produce homemade cupcakes for every birthday - Jackson’s relaxed approach to child-rearing feels refreshingly sane. Children, she tells us, are essentially savages and demons, and ought to be treated as such: at a cautious distance, without losing sight of one’s own way of life." (The New York Times)
These eccentric stories of family life during the 1940's are centered in an old rambling house in very rural Vermont. This semi autobiographical collection of scattered memories loosely organized is funny, unusual and engaging. Jackson gives her children the freedom to express themselves and explore life in a very different world from the one in which we now live. I found a thread of subtle fear and spookiness running just under the surface of many of these stories. A hint I guess of the other, darker writing that Jackson is best known for. In the end this was an enjoyable look back in time.
Known primarily for her chilling short story, "The Lottery" and her novel The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson wrote a lot of other things. I think it's safe to say that she pioneered the satirical housewife memoir genre of literature. This is a humorous and yet compelling book about the ups and downs of being a housewife (while she was still working a s a writer) and the bitter-sweet transformation of children into adulthood. I loved this book and highly recommend it for someone who wants something funny and yet touching. Although a series of anecdotes, the book reads likes a novel and is linear--unlike more contemporary writers like David Sedaris--and I liked that a great deal about it. If you're looking for creepy, ironic stories, this isn't one of those--but this is excellent light reading fair for someone who wants to relax and listen to a good book. I am a Bombeck fan, and I think it's safe to say that if you are a Bombeck fan as well you can't go wrong with this book--although I don't know if Bombeck had read this book--it seems as if it was influential.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.