23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
What makes a happy family?,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Home-Maker (Paperback)
This is a wonderful novel which is just as relevant today as when it was first published in 1924. Lester and Evangeline Knapp live in small-town America. Lester is a miserable clerk in a department store, and Eva is equally miserable at home. The first chapters of the novel are almost unbearable as we see Eva mercilessly cleaning her house to within an inch of it's life, creating a "perfect" home with no warmth at it's centre. Her children are nervous (except her youngest, Stephen, who is rebellious),her husband is dyspeptic, and her neighbours admire her efficiency while Eva bursts into hysterical tears at the slightest upset. When an accident disables Lester, their roles are reversed. He stays home to keep house and look after the children, and Eva goes to work as a saleswoman in the store which once employed her husband. All the qualities which made Eva such a disastrous housekeeper make her a wonderful saleswoman. The children find their health and happiness improves when their house becomes a home instead of a torture chamber. Lester discovers his vocation in nurturing his family, the relationship which develops between him and the children is beautifully drawn. But, will small-town America allow this bliss to continue? Can the Knapps really be happy in such an unnatural situation? Canfield Fisher's novel is involving on every level. I loved Eva's blossoming in her new career, her enthusiasm was a joy. The author's theme is not just the rights of adults to follow their inclinations and talents, but the rights of children to be brought up in a nurturing environment. Who raises them isn't really the issue.