Friday, February 11, 2011

The Best of Clarence Day

Can you imagine a New York City with no cars, with no phones? I love The Best of Clarence Day.  Ranked #755990 on Amazon.  In fact, I have two copies of this book.  Clarence Day grew up in New York City, in a large family of all boys.  But his brothers take a backseat- the real story is his parents.  His father is  loving, brash, and tyrannical and hearing their family clashes retold is completely absorbing.  The books are set up in an essay format, which makes it great for picking up and putting down.   I love that if I have a few moments I can read a short story- it's a favorite while I am breastfeeding.  Reading about New York City over a hundred years ago is so interesting.   

Coming from a family that had it's full share of fighting, I can relate to the tumultuous life of the Days. Not the part where they are rich. Or the part where they have a cook and a laundress and a nanny and a coachman and a farmer.  But the part where they have screaming rows at dinner and while the mom backseat that I can relate to.   Part of what drew me in to this story was that behind the circus of their home life, was a family that was deeply interested in each other.  The book has three main parts, God and My Father- which is quite short and explores how young Clarence's faith was shaped by watching the simple piousness of his mother juxtaposed with his fathers grudging acceptance that going to church was what you did, as long as it wasn't too much trouble.  Life with Father- Clarence Jr and Senior butt heads which is somewhat like watching a rowboat take on an ocean liner.  Life with Mother- very absorbing especially when you see what life was like before "women's liberation."

Is this book politically correct?  Nope.  Who cares?  Not me.  Help yourself to a different perspective, and you'll fall in love with the Day family just like I did. 

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