Saturday, November 3, 2007

Belles on Their Toes, by Ernestine and Frank Gilbreth

Oh, what a treat. This was a re-read, and I loved it. When I was 12 or so I think I read Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes over and over and over. About a year ago I found a yard sald copy of Cheaper By The Dozen (with awful movie-tie-in cover- Hillary Duff- spare me) and it went into serious bath-reading rotation, so I was really pleased to get ahold of Belles On Their Toes, the sequel.

After Frank Gilbreth dies, his wife Lillian Moller Gilbreth steps into his shoes running their motion-study business, and their 11 children (Anne, at 18, is the eldest) have to run the household while she tours Europe giving speeches trying to convince the world that a woman can run an engineering consulting firm in the 1920s.

I love these books, the detail and the sense of time and place- the slang, the wet smacks and ukeleles, the flappers, and Martha's big scene at the beach where she refuses to wear a 2 piece bathing dress anymore- I love the way the boys coach Jane into being a bobby-soxer rather than a vamp, I love the warmth of these stories. I cried like a baby at the end- literally sitting there howling. It is so lovely to read something that was clearly written to tell people a good story- a real, loving story- rather than all these freaking message-y youth in crisis stuff I've been reading.

Belles on Their Toes

Quality: 10 Popularity: 8 Overall: 18

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