12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
In search of America's domestic soul,
This review is from: The Homemaker (Paperback)
What an exciting find. I read The Homemaker cover to cover in one sitting, into the early hours of the morning. It's a remarkable book.
Lester and Eva Knapp are profoundly unhappy. He hates his job. She is a prisoner at home. Their children are paying the price, made sick by their parents suffocating misery.
When Lester is crippled by a terrible accident the Knapps' lives seem to hit rock bottom, but in the family's dark time they begin to see.
The Homemaker tells an uplifting story of Eva's discovery of the happiness brought by personal fulfilment and the family's defiance of the restrictive norms of small town America in the new shallow consumerism of the 1920s.
Most moving is Lester's journey from dispirited clerk to talented, loving parent. And the way in which his perceptive understanding of the real needs of his children cures them of their soul-sickness.
For in his accidental role reversal, Lester is allowed to become The Homemaker.
This is a beautifully written book, with characters you care deeply about and who will stay with you long after you have turned the final page.
It is also a profound comment on a society that cannot accept deviations from the traditional roles of breadwinner and homemaker that speaks as forcefully today as it did 80 years ago.
The Homemaker is a domestic Great Gatsby, asking the same deep questions about where America was heading in the early years of the 20th century. It is an unfortunate quirk of literary fate that one should be a revered set text and the other almost unknown.