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Domestic Affairs: Enduring the Pleasures of Motherhood and Family Life [Paperback]

Joyce Maynard

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like talking to an old friend 11 Dec 2012
By preschoolteacher - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Probably 20 years ago now I read Joyce Maynard's column in the paper. Our lives paralleled in a lot of ways. All these years later I found her book detailing the every day lives of a mom and her 3 kids. Ms. Maynard is a true talent to take such a mundane subject and make it fun and interesting reading. Its not deep to drag you down, just a good light read. Since it was written so long ago it now brings back memories of raising my kids. The toys she mentions her kids playing with are in many cases not around any more, but I remember my kids having them. I think women with kids between 20 and 30 and also young moms in the midst of raising their kids will enjoy this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LIKE A BIG WARM BLANKET OR TEDDY BEAR 18 May 2013
By Cybergirl - Published on
Reading DOMESTIC AFFAIRS by Joyce Maynard is like being enveloped by a big warm blanket for the duration. The book is based on Maynard's essays written for her then-syndicated newspaper column. She writes about her children, diapers, potty training, the time her mother knit a miniature sweater--with toothpicks--for a toy bear.

Her writing is amicable, soothing, warm--as if we were seated in a kitchen, nibbling on a Sunday brunch of warm cocoa and orange marmalade on French toast, as we chat about our lives. And yet, it is cogent and cohesive; her themes, perceptive, well-developed. Her writing is a bit wordy. But I like it. She writes that her writing is just about her life.

"Now," she writes, "I document ordinary daily life."

But it is charming and absorbing, to peek into Maynard's life. She grew up in a small New England town, more rural than suburban. Making pie crusts was both a hobby and a passion. ("I know by heart the Joy of Cooking recipe for blueberry muffins and the names of all the seven dwarfs and eight reindeer.")

Maynard writes about the births of her three children, the perennial balance of work and family, and her childhood home. A few of the chapters include other topics, such as "Babysitter Problems," Christmas in her household, tomato sauce, dolls and doll-houses, "How I married Steve," "Baby Love," and a wistful look back at her sixteen-year old self.

In an iconic anecdote, Maynard describes her first meeting with Peg, the woman who was to make her slipcovers: ". . . Because I was still pretty busy getting the children out the door to preschool and second grade, getting the lunch boxes packed, the library books gathered up, I had to ask Peg to wait a minute."

Once the kids were dispatched to school, she said to the slipcover maker, "I'm sorry. . . It's pretty hectic around here in the mornings. Getting three children dressed and out the door. . ."

To which Peg replied, "I know. . . I had nine."

A precocious child, Maynard first published at age fourteen. At eighteen, she wrote the celebrated New York Times Magazine essay, "An Eighteen-year Old Looks Back on Life"--to be perceived thereafter as the `voice of her generation.'

Later, her memoir AT HOME IN THE WORLD revealed she had lived with renowned novelist J. D. Salinger for almost a year. He was fifty-three years old; she was nineteen!

DOMESTIC AFFAIRS is a lovely, likable book that "validates"--to use Maynard's word--mothers, babies, children, family life--all things domestic. The anecdotes are endearing: when she makes tomato sauce, or spends an hour readying the kids to play in just-fallen snow only to return indoors after "exactly eight minutes." Or when she reads the story of Babar the elephant to her young son. The book feels warm, cuddly, comfy--like a teddy bear or like "the Lazy-Boy" recliner chair she so coveted.

Whether unconventional or traditional, Joyce Maynard's life is full, rich, interesting.

--Yolanda A. Reid

5.0 out of 5 stars A funny, fabulous journey back in time 12 July 2014
By Sarah Brownell - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I grew up in Vermont and am the same age as Joyce. In the 1980's they had a column every Saturday in our regional newspaper which is the only reason I purchased that paper. I still have all the clippings that moved me the most and I came to be a reader of everything she published. I was able only to meet her once, and I have always felt we are silent soul mates because we have so much in common, and the difference is she is a published writer and I have yet to be. I follow her life via the internet now and even though I know I could write to her, I hesitate because I feel so miniscule in comparison. Domestic Affairs is a fabulous return to a different era and is funny, thoughtful and practical. I rejoiced when they released this for Kindle and highly recommend it for mothers, grown up daughters and anyone interested in life in America in the '80's and 90's. Read this and meditate. The world has drastically changed for the worse since she wote this, and is headed to collapse. Joyce brings some cheer while we are on our journey which will end in a much bettter state then things are now. Want to know more? E mail me.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love having this book! 3 July 2014
By J. Meltzer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I looked forward to reading these articles when they were published in Newsday. I love having the articles together in a book. I could relate to Joyce's mothering experiences then and now, I see my daughter, as a Mother, having the same feelings! Love it!
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 21 July 2014
By Connie M. Watt - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book, good stories. Love Joyce Maynard
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