The Future Homemakers Of America

Written by Laurie Graham
Review by Andrea Connell

In the early 1950s, organizations devoted primarily to the traditional domestic arts flourished in America. No one could have anticipated the radical social changes that would occur over the next twenty years as women were to move out of the home and into the public sphere. A photograph of eager, bright eyed “future homemakers” from this time inspired Laurie Graham to write this fictionalized account of young women who were products of their time, prepared for a lifestyle that went out of style.

The women, a group of young air force wives sitting out their husbands’ tour of duty in Norfolk, England, in 1952, are humorously portrayed as stereotypical blue collar middle Americans negotiating British territory like bulls in a china shop. They are vociferous and aggressive among a reserved people, but at the same time are generous, open, and kindhearted.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and accepted the attitudes toward Americans in good humor. My only gripe is that Peggy’s unique narrative style, illustrated by consistent misspellings and atrocious grammar, at times made for vexatious reading. As I finished the book, though, I was left wondering exactly who the target audience for this humor was meant to be–British or American?