1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
The Egg and I  By  cover art

The Egg and I

By: Betty MacDonald
Narrated by: Heather Henderson
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $19.95

Buy for $19.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

When Betty MacDonald married a marine and moved to a small chicken farm on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, she was largely unprepared for the rigors of life in the wild. With no running water, no electricity, a house in need of constant repair, and days that ran from four in the morning to nine at night, the MacDonalds had barely a moment to put their feet up and relax. And then came the children. Yet through every trial and pitfall - through chaos and catastrophe - this indomitable family somehow, mercifully, never lost its sense of humor.

A beloved literary treasure for more than half a century, Betty MacDonald's The Egg and I is a heartwarming and uproarious account of adventure and survival on the American frontier.

©1945 Betty MacDonald (P)2015 Post Hypnotic Press

What listeners say about The Egg and I

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    132
  • 4 Stars
    49
  • 3 Stars
    18
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    6
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    130
  • 4 Stars
    39
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    4
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    115
  • 4 Stars
    38
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    8

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Oh, I remember those August canning days.

I remember in 1946 my mother reading “The egg and I” to my sister and I. I remember enjoying the book and when I saw it released in audio format I decided to read it again.

The book was released in October of 1945 and it was a quirky, semi-autobiographical book about a young woman in the Pacific Northwest during the early decades of the twentieth century. The book opens with her childhood but most of the book is about her marriage in 1927 and her life on a chicken farm in the Olympic Peninsula. We grew up on a farm so the book brought back memories.

The book is full of humor; some of it farm people will relate to more than a city dweller. MacDonald made the other people in the book into composite characters with fictional names to protect their friends and acquaintances’ identities. She created the Kettle family and in 1947 they were made into a movie. Several people filed lawsuit claiming the book damaged their reputations but they all lost.

The book is well written and most enjoyable. Be prepared to laugh while reading. The book is narrated by heather Henderson.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This brings back memories.

I listened to the audiobook version of THE EGG AND I and found it as delightful as the movie and print version. By way of disclaimer, I and most of my forbears grew up on a farm in the Midwest. Betty MacDonald is about the same age as my grandparents. My parents, who also farmed, as well as some of my other relatives, raised chickens, as well as hogs, steers, sheep and milk cows. They gardened, canned, sewed, tatted and worried about running out of supplies before they could make it to town again. My relatives' stories about farming before electricity, running water and tractors became standard are similar in substance, but not as wittily told, as Betty's stories of living and working on a farm. Listening to this audiobook took me back in time to my childhood and to memories of my parents and grandparents talking about "the good old days".

I noticed, in some of the other reviews, that people were concerned about the way that Betty characterized the local American Indian population. I was surprised at this. For one thing, her characterizations of the American Indians were not entirely negative. She obviously was impressed with Indians that she was familiar with in her youth and the Indians in Washington appeared not to measure up to the high standards of her childhood memories. In any case, Betty's description of these Indians were gentle and kind next to her characterization of her Anglo Saxon neighbors, especially the Kettles. What I love about Betty's writing was that she treated everyone with equal amounts of wit, satire, soliloquy and sarcasm. I rolled on the floor laughing.

The listener who is not familiar with country living or who cannot imagine life before cellphones may not find this book as enjoyable and funny as I did. But anyone who has raised chickens, even 3 or 4 in your backyard, who has lived near colorful and eccentric neighbors, who has struggled to learn the skills necessary to survive in a new environment, or who just appreciates a well turned word will enjoy this audiobook immensely.

My hats off to Heather Henderson for a well done narration of this book. She made Betty and her family and neighbors come to life.
1 like

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

a time period where everything was clearer

The Egg and I is a hilarious book that touches on the life of the author.  We see her life as a small child leading into adulthood.  The main focus of the book is her life as a wife while living on a chicken farm in the 1920-30’s.   The book explores a life that most of us have never lived – no running water, raising chickens, no electricity, and other staples we take for granted now days.

This was the life of our grandparents and great-grandparents – the simple life which for us would NOT be so simple.  The characters Ms. McDonald created are loveable and full of joy and life – Ma and Pa Kettle, Gertie and more that are downright hilarious.  The bartering system, hoping to find the illegal still during a raging fire, the dances, and other moments of social interaction will leave you in stitches!  The hard work of canning, sewing, raising livestock and surviving in a time when things were NOT just a keystroke or phone call away.   Life was hard, life was real and Betty MacDonald does an excellent job of portraying that in her audiobook.

Her characters were well-developed and shared in the humor, wit, and sarcasm.  She was respectful to everyone; no one was openly shamed or humiliated.  One thing we all tend to forget about, things change over time.  This book is about a time period where everything was clearer, simpler and more down-to-earth than they are now.

I remember when I would watch the Egg and I or the Ma and Pa Kettle movies on TV.  My great-grandmother would say things like, “I remember when our well went dry or the barn caught on fire or your grandpa disappeared for two days cause he had to hide his still or how the chickens didn’t lay eggs for months.”

This is a great audiobook for hearing and learning about the “old” days – who people were and what they did.  I think most would scratch their heads and think this was a nightmare – and for some, it would be but for those that lived back then – it was life.  It was real.  Life was treasured.

A classic treasure that accurately portrays the life between a farmer and a city gal; the hardships of living; the social interactions and working at home versus working out of an office.

Heather Henderson, the narrator, completely owned this book!  She gave the characters and incidents life while connecting to the listeners and drawing them in.  She projected the vivid emotions and feelings of each character.

There were no issues with the quality of the audio production of this book.

Audiobook was provided for review by the publisher.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great tales of a small farm!

The Egg and I is a mostly autobiographical account about Betty MacDonald’s time on a chicken farm in the late 1920s in Washington state. Filled with humor, there’s plenty of odd characters, hardships to over come, new foods to be explored, and eggs to be gathered, cleaned, and packaged for sale.

The story starts off with a brief, but laughter-inducing, account of Betty’s school years leading up to her whirlwind romance with Bob, their marriage, and then moving to the Pacific Northwest in search of heaven – a chicken farm of their own! Betty isn’t your typical heroine with perfect hair and stylish figure. Nope, she’s like all the rest of us. She was considered rather too tall for the times, being 5 ft 9 in. I like that she had a belly and rough hands and messy hair. In many ways she’s a very practical person, but she’s still a city girl moving to the country, so there’s plenty for her to learn.

There is one big negative to this book, which was typical of the time period (this book was originally published in 1945): racist remarks towards Native Americans. At the time, such remarks were common and considered accurate. Thankfully, our society as a whole has grown and such remarks today would not sit well with me at all. In truth, even in a historical perspective, these remarks make me a bit angry. However, I am glad that the publisher decided to keep the book as it was originally written instead of washing out these remarks, maintaining the historical accuracy of views at that time, and showing that people of every ethnicity, including the author, are flawed.

OK, so now that that is out of the way, there’s plenty I enjoyed about this book. First, this story spoke to me in many ways. My husband and I some years ago left city life for rural living and had a little farm. We had to go through many of the same learning curves as Betty – starting a fire every day in winter to heat the house, irrigation, gardening, chickens, plowing with equines, stray dogs getting into our property, etc. While we have indoor plumbing, it’s not too hard to picture Betty briskly walking out to the outhouse on a crisp autumn morning.

The Pacific Northwest, and several places named in this book, hold a special place in my heart. Having family in Port Angeles and Seattle, we have visited the area many times. So it was a real treat to see these places through Betty’s eyes in the late 1920s when things were really rugged. She talks of all the edible local foods including the Dungeness crabs and the geoduck clams. Having a chicken farm, they were never short of eggs, so she learned to add an extra egg or two to any recipe that called for eggs, and to a few recipes that did not.

Ma and Pa Kettle feature prominently in the story, being some of the closest neighbors to the isolated chicken farm. There’s also the Hicks, who are eccentric in other ways. I think anyone who moves to the country will find a bevvy of interesting characters in the area and Betty doesn’t skimp on telling how odd her neighbors are. Also, Betty told amusing tales about the animals on the farm, her husband Bob, and inanimate objects, like the wood-burning kitchen stove. She doesn’t leave herself out of this well-meaning, laughter-inducing critique either. There’s plenty of chuckles to go around.

It being a chicken farm, we have to talk about the chickens. Since Bob was often working away from the farm during the day, Betty was the main care-taker of all the beasties. I love her descriptions of all the loving labor she, and sometimes Bob, put into caring for these birds. There’s the daily cleaning of their houses, maintaining the fences around their yards, putting together their feed, tending to the chicks (which far too easily succumb to death), gathering the eggs, and regularly culling the flock. She very accurately describes how with any other beast, such care would be returned with affection. Not so with the chicken! So true, and I say that from a place of love for chickens.

While Betty often jokes, she also usually tells it like it is. I hope others enjoy this classic as much as I do.

I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobookworm.

The Narration: Heather Henderson did a great job with this book. I love how she carries the humor, telling it with a sense of irony where needed. She has a unique voice for each character and her male voices are quite believable.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A "Must Read"

This book has been on my to-read list for a very long time. I am on a crusade to read more of these long-suffering books this year. The one I chose this time was "The Egg and I" by Betty McDonald. It was a good choice.

Mrs. McDonald has a great way of telling her life story, or at least the part that took place on an egg farm in Washington state. Life among her neighbors and others in this rural setting was never dull, and she tells about it with a great deal of humor and insight. She and her husband manage to make a go of their egg farm in spite of many hardships, including no electricity, but with a lot of determination. I was a little sad when I finished this book. It was a little like having great neighbors move away.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Egged On

Would you listen to The Egg and I again? Why?

I would listen to The Egg and I again. Betty MacDonald's style is personal and witty, and Heather Henderson voices the story well.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Egg and I?

My favorite part of The Egg and I and of all of Betty MacDonald's books are her vivid descriptions of her childhood.

Which character – as performed by Heather Henderson – was your favorite?

Heather Henderson gets Betty MacDonald's first-person voice well.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listened to The Egg and I on a car trip between Seattle and Ashland, Oregon, found it very diverting.

Any additional comments?

During the latter half of the 20th Century, you would have been hard-pressed to find anyone in the United States who didn't recognize the title The Egg and I, or the name of its irrepressibly witty author, Betty MacDonald. The book sold more than 2 million copies within MacDonald's lifetime, and has remained continuously in print (albeit sometimes on her publishers' backlist) since it came out in 1945. The book has been translated into many languages, and has fans worldwide.Egg spawned three sequels. Betty MacDonald referred to these four autobiographical books as "I" books, since the first two, The Egg and I and The Plague and I (1948), placed Betty herself right in the title. Choosing an audio book narrator to voice "I" books, Betty's especially, means finding a reader who can -- for the listener -- be that "I," aurally illustrating the first person narrative. In this Post Hypnotic Press audio book edition, Heather Henderson's droll delivery is perfect for Betty MacDonald's prose.I have been living within The Egg and I and Betty MacDonald's other books (not literally, but very nearly) for years as I researched her life and work for my forthcoming biography, Looking For Betty MacDonald: The Egg, The Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and I, scheduled for publication by University of Washington Press in fall 2016. I highly recommend this Post Hypnotic Press audio book edition of The Egg and I. For those who haven't yet had the pleasure of reading the book, listening will be a wonderful introduction to Betty MacDonald. For the book's existing legions of fans, this audio book edition will be a treat, adding the depth and nuance that come from hearing MacDonald's tart, funny prose expertly voiced.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story from the forties

I chose to listen to the audiobook after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

The Egg and I is a delightful memoir about the first couple of years of Betty MacDonald's marriage. Despite her misgivings, they bought a remote ranch on a mountain and started a chicken farm.

Even though the work was grueling and it was lonely, Betty kept her sense of humor and her husband loved the life they were living.

Readers nowadays may be offended by the way she talks about Indians but they need to keep in mind that this book was written in the 1940's, and her view was accepted back then. She actually wrote that she hated the Indians. I'm not sure why she wrote that since she talked nicely about a couple of them later in the book. But I suggest not reading or listening to The Egg and I if you can't get past that. It did rub me the wrong way but I know people talked like that 70 years ago and it was considered "okay," so I looked past those comments and was still able to enjoy the book.

Another thing that stuck out as something that wouldn't be accepted today was when they went to the fair and she put her baby in the truck to sleep and left her there to look at some things at the fair. Or when she left the baby lying with the dog when she went to care for the farm animals. Times sure have changed!

Betty MacDonald's description of her neighbors, the Kettles tickled me. We lived in northeast Tennessee when I was a teenager and we often drove in the mountains and saw farms that looked like she described the Kettle's home. My dad always commented how funny it was that there'd be a farm like that next to one that was really nice.

The narrator, Heather Henderson, has a pleasant voice and I enjoyed listening to her. She did a great job of using different voices for different characters. I especially liked Pa Kettle's voice.

I enjoyed listening to the Egg and I and I hope to see the movie sometime.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Love This Story

It's one of my favorites! I've read the book 5 times, only natural to also have it read to me. Funny, genuine and smart.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

This is a wonderful portrayal of their life.

What made the experience of listening to The Egg and I the most enjoyable?

I was lucky enough to gain an audio copy of this and it made for very engrossing listening. The narration was spot on, I felt as though I was there shivering in that kitchen having a cup of coffee. When I started and realised it was about 9 hours long I thought it would take forever to hear it all when in fact I think I completed it in about 3 sessions because I was enthralled. I would happily listen to more stories by Betty.

What did you like best about this story?

I have always been fascinated by the 1940’s especially living ‘on the land’ and being fairly self sufficient. My parents had a chicken/egg business when I was a child and I have many happy memories of ‘collecting’ the eggs. However I live in the UK and I certainly wasn’t around in the 1940’s so that is where the similarities end!
Betty married and blindly followed her husband off to the bleak mountains in Washington state to follow his dream of owning a chicken ranch. This is her story told exactly how she lived it .. non-politically correct and with moments of what would be described these days as racism.

Any thought that it would be an easy existence rapidly disappeared as we hear about her struggling to light the stove, forgetting the kerosene, living by candlelight, scrubbing the laundry by hand, ironing with an old flat iron warmed briefly on aforementioned stove. Carrying buckets of water, walking 5 or more miles to her nearest neighbours not to mention the act of caring for the chickens!!

Their days would begin at 4am, cold, dark and monotonous. But Betty did as her husband told her. I enjoyed her descriptions of learning to sew and making anything crafty, she wasn’t naturally talented. She adored reading but books were not easy to come by.

What about Heather Henderson’s performance did you like?

Clear, concise narration with just the right inflection on the characters .. very engaging.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This is a wonderful portrayal of their life but remember it was a LONG time ago and some of the issues may be sensitive but it’s as it was. Betty was very scathing of a lot of people around her, there are some fabulously humorous parts but I’m not sure her humour was appreciated by all. If you are of a delicate disposition then possibly some of the references to how the chicken industry works is not ideal.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

This was a fun book to listen to!

Any additional comments?

The Egg and I, written by Betty MacDonald, is entertaining, witty, heartening, and uplifting. Ms. MacDonald took difficult times in her life and made them appear fun by utilizing witty and dry humor throughout. The good, the bad, and the ugly of married life on a chicken farm in the late 1920’s is written with such flare that even today I think some people will relate to some of the situations.

The Egg and I is narrated by Heather Henderson and she performed the story so well that I thought Betty MacDonald herself was sitting in my living room telling the story. Henderson’s voice is soothing and hypnotic and took an already great book to an utterly outstanding book! The ‘voice’ of Pa Kettle was perhaps my favorite, but the ‘voices’ of all the characters were distinctive and enjoyable to listen to. Ms. Henderson is a new narrator for me, but I will definitely search out more titles narrated by her in the future - especially the other books written by Betty MacDonald.

Overall, this was a fun book to listen to and I found myself laughing out loud throughout. The Egg and I is extremely well-written with charming and delightful characters and is one audio book that I will listen to again and again.

Story – 4 stars
Performance – 5 stars
Overall – 4.5 stars

3 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Alan
  • Alan
  • 09-03-15

The moment it finished I started listening again!

Would you listen to The Egg and I again? Why?

I have loved this book for about 45 years and got many family & friends addicted to it. Betty MacDonald and Jane Austen may seem an unlikely sisterhood but they have got me through some very difficult times between them! I couldn't believe my luck when Audible offered a recording and was concerned the immediacy of the humour might not come across in a reading. I had no need to worry - it is a brilliant reading and the book transfers to audio with ease. In fact the moment I finished listening to it I started listening all over again and have just finished the second hearing.

What other book might you compare The Egg and I to, and why?

The Betty MacDonald books are fairly unique - very humorous, perfectly capturing the atmosphere and outlooks of their era, with vivid characterisation and deceptively well written with a fluid, easy to read (or listen) style. The descriptions (especially of the scenery) land you right in the centre of the book - there is nobody else like Betty MacDonald, unique! Who else would write so brilliantly about egg farming or recuperating from tuberculosis (The Plague and I) or high unemployment (Anybody Can Do Anything)?

What does Heather Henderson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Not a reader I had come across but she is amazing - she brings out the fact that Betty was brought up to be a lady which makes her misadventures and tribulations even funnier - imagine Margo from The Good Life suddenly finding herself running a chicken farm! The characterisation is vivid without being cartoonish, her pronunciation of certain words is (to my English ears) delightful and you can tell she is having a ball reading this book and is delighted to share it with you! Her reading is heartfelt, droll and wry. As Juliet Stevenson is to Jane Austen on audio so Heather Henderson is to Betty MacDonald - and there is no higher praise!

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed inwardly through most of it and aloud at quite a few moments. It is a total delight but it isn't all perpetual sunshine - the terrible forest fire towards the end is captured brilliantly as is the boredom and loneliness of life on the chicken ranch.

Any additional comments?

I understand the reader is going to record Betty's three other autobiographical books - the sooner the better! I can't wait!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-17-21

great book to bring light and optimism

I really enjoyed it, the book is so witty, humorous, sometimes poetic in describing the scenery. I can't understand how someone can speak about racism, there is no racism there at all! She is just describing her experience with native Americans at that time and this place, it just happened she had very bad experience and why should she not describe frankly whom she came accross? because someone is not white they can't be criticised??? She has the same approach to describing with her humor white farmers, so are native Americans tabboo ? That would be racism vica versa.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Szarlej
  • Szarlej
  • 09-01-20

Delightful!

Easy read with a zing to it. Thoroughly enjoyed it, will definitely dive into rest of the series.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mrs U
  • Mrs U
  • 04-17-20

Fun on the farm

Betty's story of marriage and life on a chicken ranch in the Pacific NW of the US is a great listen - it feels as if you're sat around the kitchen table having a visit with her.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for joan mcghee
  • joan mcghee
  • 06-09-18

Old world

My 93 yo mother remembered her mother reading this book in the 60's and enjoyed the descriptive and memorable stories.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Stylo
  • Stylo
  • 05-09-17

Another funny story in Betty MacDonald's life

If you could sum up The Egg and I in three words, what would they be?

Interesting, funny, original

Who was your favorite character and why?

Betty MacDonald is the obvious favourite. Her great observational wit makes her books wonderfully entertaining.

Which character – as performed by Heather Henderson – was your favourite?

Heather Henderson is the perfect narrator for Betty MacDonald's audio books. All the characters are entertaining.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I would have really enjoyed listening to this book in one sitting if I had the time!