Skip to main content

2011 Reading Challenge~~Book #27

Sixpence in Her Shoe by Phyllis McGinley is a book after my own heart. I loved it! In it, McGinley sings the praises of domesticity, and though I didn't agree with her in every little point, I did agree heartily with the major thrust of the book ~ that caring for home and family is an endeavor worthy of our best efforts and expenditures in time, intelligence, and creativity.

McGinley divides the book into three main spheres of a woman's domestic life: the wife, the house, and the family. In chapters with such titles as "How Not to Kill Your Husband," "What Cookbooks Don't Tell You," and "Keeping Up with the Joneses, Jr.," she covers everything from how to be a good car passenger, how to buy good furniture on the cheap, and what to look for in children's literature, plus much, much more. What most intrigued me about Sixpence in Her Shoe was the time it was written: 1960, just a few years before The Feminine Mystique was published but far enough into the modern feminist movement that the author frequently writes to defend the domestic woman who still wants to cook dinner for her family and take care of her babies herself. She also writes about contemporary trends she sees as dangerous, including children being smothered with too many material possessions, schools divvying students up according to rigid standardized test results, juvenile literature that has been dumbed down and stripped of anything interesting, and kitchens that serve more as showcases than as places to do the often messy work of preparing food. (Okay, that last one is probably not dangerous, but it is foolish, in her view . . . and mine too.) What struck me is how these trends have grown in spades since 1960. What would the author think if she were alive today?

McGinley was a well known writer who won a Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1961. Sixpence in Her Shoe is skillfully written and is also a pleasure to read from a literary standpoint. She makes many allusions to the Bible and classical literature that I'm afraid would be lost on most of today's audience, but sadly, I don't think this book would have been published in today's climate anyway. However, I rank it as one of the best books I've read all year, right up there with Keeping House by Margaret Kim Peterson (#13 on my Reading Challenge list). I value books that value me and my role as wife and mother. Happily, Sixpence in Her Shoe does just that.


Popular Posts

Auntie Leila's Linky Party

Auntie Leila of Like Mother, Like Daughter (one of my favorite blogs!) is having a linky party about kitchen sinks! I thought I'd join in and show you mine.

First is a picture of my kitchen sink area in its entirety:

It's a small room~~just 13' x 8'~~but I've decided I don't really mind because everything is only a step or two away. Leila has been talking about making the kitchen work for you instead of you working against it, and that's really quite easy to accomplish when the space is so small. In fact, reading her post about her kitchen made me laugh because our kitchen set-up is almost identical!

The windows up close:

I like to put these "gingerbread" Christmas decorations in the kitchen. Girl of the House made the paperbag gingerbread boy when she was four. Isn't he cute? The little red gingham bag was made by the director of the preschool where I used to teach and is over 20 years old. The felt ornaments were made by my grandmother, t…

The Growlery

We've just about wrapped up another room and I wanted to show you pictures. This room is off the kitchen and is intended to be a TV room, I'm sure, but since we don't have a TV, we repurposed it. We call it the growlery (begin at about 6:30 for the reference). In days of yore, the growlery was a room where the men retired after dinner to sip brandy, smoke cigars, and talk politics. We were stumped as to what to call this room, but Dave hit upon "the growlery" and it has stuck. We all knew right away that that was the perfect name! It inspired me to take a more masculine tack in paint, furniture, and decor. See what you think!

The view as you enter from the kitchen:

We bought the chairs brand new. We hardly ever buy new furniture, but we'd used up most of what we already had in other rooms, so we splurged. I'd love to move the exercise bike if we can find a more propitious place for it.

The view from the door that leads to the back patio:

And the view…

A "Reasonably Clean" Welcome

Like Mother, Like Daughter is having a linky party similar to their "Pretty over the Kitchen Sink" from last December. This time we are focusing on entryways. Leila of LMLD has written a series of helpful posts on the Reasonably Clean House, which you can find in the LMLD's sidebar; hence the "Reasonably Clean" Welcome!

As I may have mentioned once or twice *wink*, we moved in mid-June, and I've been swept up in a flurry of nesting ever since. I don't mind because I enjoy nesting, but the focus of said nesting has not been on any of the three entryways this house is blessed with. In fact, one of them is still downright dismal as the room it opens on awaits paint, furniture, and general unpacking. Unfortunately, that seems to be the one lots of people use. But I'm not showing you that one . . . yet. I put my energies into the front entry, the one I *wish* people would use more often and the one that had the least to do to pretty it up a bit. F…