Looking for Betty MacDonald: The Egg, the Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and I


Product Details

$22.95  $21.11
University of Washington Press
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.4 X 0.9 inches | 0.75 pounds

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About the Author

Paula Becker is a staff historian at HistoryLink.org. She is the coauthor of The Future Remembered: The 1962 Seattle World's Fair and Its Legacy and Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, Washington's First World Fair.


Becker, allowed access to the trove of her subject's correspondence, has done eloquent, measured justice to the 'hungry ghost' of Betty MacDonald. . . . Looking for Betty MacDonald is a riveting account of a quick-fire, ambitious, mercurial intellect; the story of a woman who met the demands of both her sophisticated, struggling family and of her 'interesting times' with a defiant, pawky smile.

--Imogen Russell Williams "Times Literary Supplement "

I was fully entranced by this book. . . . Through Becker's lens, MacDonald becomes something much more than her books and her movies. In fact, it's her presence in this narrative, her kind voice and apparent interest in MacDonald, that allows someone unfamiliar with the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books to also become interested in MacDonald.

--YiShun Lai "Tahoma Literary Review "

Paula Becker's astute, affectionate and often startling Looking for Betty MacDonald is the first biography of this singular American writer. . . . The biography fills in crucial and sometimes shocking gaps in her story, rendering MacDonald's achievements all the more extraordinary. . . . Becker is a historian and writes with a historian's precision, but she has a fan's insight and warmth. The result is a thorough and illuminating biography that, with any luck, will lead a new generation of readers to MacDonald's own remarkable work.

-- (01/01/2016)

The Egg and I, The Plague and I and Anybody Can Do Anything practically cavort off the page. How did [Betty MacDonald] do it? Seattle author Paula Becker has some answers in her compact, finely crafted biography.

-- (01/01/2016)

A smart and immensely readable portrait, taking readers through MacDonald's life. . . . Becker has combed every interview and profile, and her book veritably glows with MacDonald's recaptured wit. . . . Thanks to Paula Becker's exhaustive research and the compassionate, standard-setting book she's shaped out of it, 21st century readers can meet a much fuller and more fascinating version of that complex, challenging, laughing woman. Readers of her books will still want to thank her, but thanks to Looking for Betty MacDonald, they'll know her much better.

-- (01/01/2016)

The pages zing with unexpected detail and nuggets of lacerating wit. . . . If you're Looking for Betty MacDonald, you need look no further.

-- (01/01/2016)

I was delighted to explore MacDonald's life and work through Paula Becker's thoughtful, painstakingly researched biography, and even more thrilled to see that University of Washington Press is going to be reprinting three hard-to-find later works by the bestselling author of The Egg and I Anybody Can Do Anything, The Plague and I, and Onions in the Stew. . . . If you're not a MacDonald enthusiast, you will be soon. . . . We can be grateful that Becker has preserved it for us in words, and has given us valuable insights into her world, her books, her family, and the writer herself.

-- (01/01/2016)

Pick up a copy to find out UW's role in hatching one of the 20th-century's sharpest storytellers. CliffNotes version: Our campus is where she changed her name--from Betsy to the razor-edged Betty--and most important, it's where she gave up her dream of being an illustrator.

--Columns, UWAA

This volume will send readers away satisfied and eager to reread their favorite MacDonald books. Written in an easygoing style for the general reader, this book will appeal to anyone familiar with MacDonald's books who has found themselves curious about the author.

--Library Journal