Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Future Homemakers of America - Laurie Graham

Laurie Graham's books are wonderful. Always such a pleasure to read, and descriptions, so completely unexpected, such as in this one, instructions for how to cook an eel, caught in the Norfolk Fens, on a barbecue, alongside recipes for Fried Squirrel, and, more to my best, Betty's Best Ever Brownies.

However, recipes are not the main focus of this story. It is about strong friendships across continents, new experiences, differences in lifestyles. It tells the tale of the wives of American airforce men, based in Norfolk and trying to fit in with the locals, and how they eventually build a very special friendship with a particular couple and how this friendship is sustained through relocation, transport developments, and bravery. They see the funeral cortege of the King of England, and then celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. But they also focus on more personal issues, such as hereditary medical illnesses and how they are managed during these times.

It is very moving in some places, and hilarious in others. The passages about the Americans' rich way of life compared to the spartan provisions available to the English during ration times are so interesting, and the animosity facing the Americans, quite sad at times.

I really like Laurie Graham's books because they are about people you can really believe in. Real people. Another one by her, The Importance of Being a Kennedy, is about a nanny from County Meath in Ireland who becomes nanny to the Kennedy children in America, and again it has great scenes describing the differences between the two cultures, and gives a very personal feel to the the Kennedy family.

These are not stories of adventure and mystery, but of real people and real lives. They are fascinating, interesting, and just a complete pleasure to read. If you like books by Fannie Flagg (another one of my favourites), then you might like these too.

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