bobquasit: (Default)
[personal profile] bobquasit
Belles on Their ToesBelles on Their Toes by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I read Cheaper by the Dozen decades ago, and it stuck with me; the humor, and the deeply moving sadness at the end. I recently read to it to my nine-year-old son, who loved it (we watched the 1950 movie of the book immediately after; for his own sake, we are not watching the trashy and completely unrelated Steve Martin movie of the same name).

He wants to move on to the sequel, and so did I. Fortunately our library was able to obtain a copy. Just to be safe, I decided to read it through before deciding if it was appropriate to read to him.

It is. The humor isn't as rich as it was in Cheaper by the Dozen, but that's because this is the story of the family after Frank Gilbreth died, and he was apparently a font of humor. That said, I smiled, laughed, and chuckled many times throughout the book. It's as well-written as the first, and nearly as enjoyable. The ending isn't as moving as the ending of Cheaper by the Dozen, but it's both touching and thought-provoking. I liked this book, and I'm going to search out other books by the authors and about the Gilbreths as well.

There was one jarring point. Just as the family minstrel show suddenly brought home just how much time has passed since the events of Cheaper by the Dozen, in this case my jaw dropped when I read the following. The two oldest girls had taken up smoking, and were caught by their mother:
"I've been trying to think up some good arguments against smoking," Mother said, "but when you analyze them, they don't seem too convincing."

She started to enumerate the arguments, counting them off on her fingers.

...

"It's bad for your health. That's open to debate. Not so bad as overeating, or not getting enough sleep."

She ends up reluctantly giving them permission to smoke - quite a shock to a modern reader. Or at least it was to me! But then, I wasn't alive in the 1920s. Oh I knew, intellectually, that the attitude towards smoking was very different then, but after getting to know the Gilbreth family through their books it's strange to suddenly realize how long ago they lived.



View all my reviews

Date: 2011-03-21 09:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fibro-witch.livejournal.com
I never realized there was a second book? I will have to go look for it.

Date: 2011-03-22 03:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bobquasit.livejournal.com
There are websites too - the family still has reunions on Nantucket every year, although not all attend. There are hundreds of Gilbreths descended from Frank and Lillian now.

There are also some other books about them and by some of the children, I think, but not specifically about the family. I'm going to look into that.

July 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
9101112131415
1617181920 2122
23242526272829
3031     

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 01:16 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios