Review 1423: Literary Wives! The Home-Maker

Today is another review for the Literary Wives blogging club, in which we discuss the depiction of wives in fiction. If you have read the book, please participate by leaving comments on any of our blogs. Be sure to read the reviews and comments of the other wives!

Eva of Paperback Princess
Lynn of Smoke and Mirrors
Naomi of Consumed By Ink

* * *

The Home-Maker is a reread for me, so let me just provide a link to my original review and then discuss our regular question.

What does this book say about wives or about the experience of being a wife?

Evangeline Knapp is a perfect example of a woman, like my mother, who was not suited to be a housewife, a kind of person not recognized in her time. Unlike my mother, who at home was the female equivalent of Lester Knapp at work, Evangeline compensates by becoming overzealous and overparticular in her housekeeping, making the immaculate home a miserable place for everyone, including herself.

In this ground-breaking work of 1924, the couple are forced to switch places, and Evangeline finds her place in life. At work in a department store, her efficiency and energy are appreciated, and because she enjoys the work, she loses her resentment. The Knapps change from a dysfunctional family to one that is much happier, because everyone is happy in his or her role. In  fact, to keep this happy solution in this chauvinist time, they have to come up with a rather shocking solution. The Knapps develop a true partnership in their marriage.

Literary Wives logoI like this novel because instead of depicting a family in stasis, it presents a problem that probably wasn’t much recognized in its time and shows how the family relationships improve as a result of its solution. The marriage evolves from a somewhat unhappy one to a happy one, and everyone is fulfilled. Lester understands Evangeline’s need for meaningful work, and he enjoys taking her position in the household, albeit not providing an immaculate household but a loving, slightly messy one. Evangeline’s sharp temper subsides.

In her way, Evangeline is a little more exaggerated version of Brenda in Happenstance, who began to have periods of anger before she took up quilting.

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10 thoughts on “Review 1423: Literary Wives! The Home-Maker

  1. Lynn Gerrard December 2, 2019 / 2:06 pm

    Yep! I’m glad you didn’t reveal the solution. I didn’t either though I did mention I was disappointed in them all for taking the chicken’s way out! 🙂 I was just glad they didn’t force themselves to both work! That would have been absolute disaster! Especially if they had that horrid Mrs. Anderson babysit!

    • whatmeread December 2, 2019 / 4:05 pm

      I expect she thought it was the only solution for their time.

  2. Naomi December 3, 2019 / 9:46 am

    I liked their solution, and I especially liked the way it came about – kind of behind the scenes because of a couple of kind friends. What a great book!

    • whatmeread December 3, 2019 / 10:12 am

      It was a little disappointing to me that they had to resort to it, but the times were different. I agree. I really like this book.

      • Naomi December 3, 2019 / 10:35 am

        That’s true. I was just so happy that there were a couple of other people who felt as strongly as they did about the way it should be!

      • whatmeread December 3, 2019 / 10:39 am

        Yes, that was nice.

  3. The Paperback Princess December 5, 2019 / 3:19 pm

    I totally revealed the solution – I warned about the spoilers. I was preparing myself for them going back to their old lives and was delighted that they found a way to keep things going as they were. I agree with everything you have to say which is likely another first? I would definitely re-read this one, I found myself thinking about it a LOT.

    • whatmeread December 5, 2019 / 4:18 pm

      Oh, I’ll go check out your review.

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