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The Future Homemakers of America Paperback – 5 Jun 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; New edition edition (5 Jun. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841153133
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841153131
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 210,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Laurie Graham's social comedies have been described as a cross between the writing of Victoria Wood and Alan Bennett.
A former radio script writer and journalist, Laurie has been sacked by both the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs and by a raft of glossy women's magazines.
Nothing daunted she now gives vent to her opinions on her own excellent website. http://www.lauriegraham.com
She lives in Dublin.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Laurie Graham's much-anticipated novel The Future Homemakers of America introduces us to five American Air force wives stationed at a US airbase in the Norfolk Fens in 1953, the year of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Initially, the women have little in common, except their nationality and husbands who fly with the 68th bomber wing, but they eventually start to socialise.

It soon becomes clear, however, that all is not as it seems. Glamorous redhead Lois is bored with her lot and longs to explore life beyond the confines of the base; when she does, though, the consequences are not quite what she expected. Betty, a true organiser and the most obvious homemaker of the group, makes excellent chocolate brownies and is a wonderful mother but one wonders whether her marriage is all it seems. Her friends aren't quite sure but support her all the same. And there are other hidden dynamics too: the women dare not speak of their fears for their husbands who are warding off potential threats from the Soviets.

As the women expand their horizons, they also get to know some wary locals who live in shocking material circumstances in a grieving England barely recovered from World War II. The glamorous "yanks" befriend the down-to-earth but reticent Kath and mysterious John Pharaoh and subsequently become ministering angels as they dispense freebies and treats to their new friends. But their actions turn out to be much more than "do-gooding". The women themselves are changed by the people and events they encounter in the Norfolk countryside.

Throughout The Future Homemakers of America Graham leads us effortlessly and convincingly on as we follow the lives of the characters across time and geography. All the while, she gives us humorous and often tender insights about women living, loving and adapting--and the forging of bonds that can last a lifetime. --Christina Mcloughlin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'She has wit and insight to match Nick Hornby, and the entertainment value of Helen Fielding, as well as depth. Her novel traces the lives of Peggy and five female friends – one British – from the 1950s to the present, against a background of landmark events. It amounts to a picture of the way women's lives have changed, without ever sacrificing the particular to the generalisation.' Nicolette Jones, Independent

‘Superlative. The writing sparkles from first to last’ David Robson, Sunday Telegraph

‘This novel crackles with energy and snappy American dialogue. Laurie Graham conjures up five tough, funny, mouthy women, thrown together at an American airbase in Norfolk. Kath, a typical Brit with a chilly exterior and warm heart, is drawn into their generous circle. Graham has pulled off an absolute triumph; the voice of her sassy narrator, the redoubtable Peggy, never falters as she unfolds 40 years of friendship.’ Georgia Metcalfe, Daily Mail

‘Laugh-out-loud funny; intelligent; moving; has more delicious roll-off-the-tongue one-liners than Seinfeld. One of those books you buy six copies of to send to all your old friends.’ Julie Morrice, Scotsman


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mary Poole (jb_poole@lineone.net) on 22 July 2001
Format: Paperback
I was a Future Homemaker in the American Midwest. But my group never had the adventures to equal this group of American Air Force wives, stationed in the bleak Norfolk of 1951, worried about their pilot husbands, quarreling and helping each other to survive. British readers will gain rare insights into American Air Force attitudes to the natives, especially of Norfolk, the royal family, all-purpose Jello and Velveeta and how to protect the Free World. American readers will blush and laugh at the mirror held up to themselves. And everybody will long for a heroine who can make duck quack noises with her armpits. The book follows the narrator, Peggy Dewey and her friends, Audrey, red-headed Lois, Gayle,homemaker par excellence Betty and the 'native' Kath Pharoah through decades of experience and the reader shares the glow of their friendship. Highly recommended to any one who values a friend. By the way,Future Homemakers are still thriving
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Aug. 2001
Format: Paperback
After a difficult beginning when all the characters were being introduced, I was soon hooked. Living as I do on the Suffolk/Norfolk border I recognised the bleak cold wet Fen and the earthly richness of Kath and her fellow Fen folk. As earthly as the rich earth they live amongst. Events, places, sayings - oh so apt. As a USAF (DW) wife from 1986 to 1995 I could also recognise the ever present spectre of Uncle Sam quietly disapproving of anyone putting the slightest foot wrong. We are transported from cold Fen to Texas to New York to the dizzy heights of Hunstanton and from laughter to tears and all points inbetween. It shows that with a little work friendships are for life, not just an assignment!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By cherry4412@aol.com on 6 Sept. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a book that is difficult to put down once started. It covers the lives of 5 very different women, 4 American and 1 English, over several years from their early 20's and the characters all become very real. The book is at the same time funny and sad and I found it a thoroughly enjoyable read and one which I can heartily recommend.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
The book follows the lifelong friendship of five U.S. air-force wives: Peggy, Lois, Audrey, Betty, Gayle and their English friend Kath whom they meet when they are based in Norfolk. The story moves from post-war Britain back to the States and is peppered with the historical and social events that touched the lives of these women along the way. It has an easy to read style that is very witty and is one of the few books to which I have laughed out loud; the dog thought I'd gone mad!
However as well as making you laugh it also makes you cry and just when you begin to wonder where the book is going it devlelops into a most surprising climax, that I just didn't see coming. I loved it and would definitely recommend it to anyone!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nicola F (Nic) TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
I had this book sat on my shelf for ages before I actually got around to reading it (I'd grabbed it in a charity shop because the cover appealed to me initially, as is often the case). I finally selected it on a whim for a journey to see my boyfriend's parents and once I cracked it open became engrossed in it immediately. I couldn't believe I'd had it for so long and not read it! To put it simply: this book is divine. I didn't want it to end, and when it did, I went right back to the beginning just to re-read through my favourite bits, which I hardly ever do.

This is the first novel of Graham's I've read and it certainly won't be the last. It's centered around American airmen's wives on an English airbase in the 1950's initially, though locations change through the novel as the decades sweep by.

The story itself is narrated by the witty, loyal Peggy, but all the characters are memorable with their own little quirks. Infact, you quickly feel like you actually know them and start identifying with what's going on in their lives as the years pass by and the group of friends are split up between the US and England; because ultimately, that's what this story is about: life long friendships. It made me laugh, it made me cry and most of all it made me wish that this could be made into a film- though whether or not the big screen could do it justice is another matter. Definitely one of my new favourite books and I hope her other novels are just as good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on 25 May 2006
Format: Paperback
This was the first book by Laurie Graham that I read and it is still my favourite. The story of the wifes of U.S airman and their English pal Kath is one that spans country and generations. It is lively, funny, true to life and you are sure to say at some stage oh I do that, or I know what you mean. The women are very different but in the end the friendships made as the King's coffin travelled through Norfolk stand the test of time and distance. I loved the reference to products that only the americans would have in the 1950's like peanut butter. I also found myself delighted when Kath achived something. It was a real I don't want to put it down book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By UK reader on 23 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback
After a moderately confusing start where all the characters, their husbands and kids, pets etc were introduced, I soon got into this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. Perfect holiday reading, many laugh out loud sections and a couple of weepies!

The segments with recipes and newspaper cuttings were really welcome - it helped place the book in the historical setting and was "light relief" (not that the book needed it!).

The characters were wonderful and I was impressed that the author was able to give English Kath a proper Norfolk accent (especially as I thought Laurie Graham was British, when actually she is American).

I will be looking out for other Laurie Graham books - have bought the recently published "Importance of the Kennedys" and look forward to it.
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