In a world full of classic books, one that I had the delight of discovering was Betty MacDonald’s worldwide bestseller The Egg and I (Harper Perennial, 1987; first edition released by J. B. Lippincott Company; 1945).
The Egg and I tells the story of MacDonald’s life working on a chicken farm in Washington State with humor and heartwarming style. On the negative side, MacDonald’s views of Native Americans may come across as offensive in modern society in contrast to living in a much less politically correct time when The Egg and I was written and published.
In any event, The Egg and I gives a contemporary air and very detailed through MacDonald’s sharply observant eye and her perspectives on chicken farming written with clever prose. Reading this book, there is no question that Betty MacDonald was far ahead of her time, and it shines through her most recognized book.
The Egg and I not only went on to be translated into twelve different foreign languages, but also a film adaption starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray. There are also references that the old Ma and Pa Kettle films were inspired by what is considered by many to be MacDonald’s most famous work.
The Egg and I is recommended reading for those who love stories from bygone eras told in a contemporary style. It’s a book that should be handed down to generation after generation.