Life Among the Savages – Shirley Jackson

Rating: 4 stars
Shelf: Reading Now

In this memoir, Shirley Jackson writes beautifully and hilariously about the growth of her family, from two, to three, and finally four children. She captures their constantly changing and charming personalities by describing often ridiculous family conversations around the dinner table.

But, what I found most interesting about the memoir was the social aspect. Shirley Jackson – author of The Lottery, The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle (and more) – is obviously a brilliant woman. But she’s often caught up in feeling guilty over her lack of housewife ability.

One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Shirley describes going to the hospital to have her third child. The nurse asks her for her name and occupation. Shirley can’t at first remember her name and tells her that she is a writer. The nurse insists that she “just put housewife.” When the nurse asks for her husband’s occupation, Shirley tells her to just put housewife.

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