Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Evangeline Knapp is your typical housewife of the 1920s. She has three young children that she cares for, while also keeping the house spotless and the meals on the table. The biggest difference is that she is not happy. She doesn’t have to say it; her frustration is practically tangible, and the effect that it has on her family is stultifying. Her husband Lester is a bookkeeper for a local department store and loathes his job. Evangeline’s three children are scared of her, with the youngest, Stephen, constantly acting out. It seems as if the Knapp family is at a dead end, with happiness a faraway dream. This all changes when a horrible accident takes place and forces Evangeline out into the world.
While it seems awful at first, Evangeline is able to discover her real self. Her once stifled family is also able to blossoms and grow. The standard gender roles of the 1920s are carefully examined and and dissected. Given the social climate when The Home-Maker was published in 1924, it is a very courageous topic for a book to deal with.
I think The Home-Maker is still very relevant today, as many people feel forced into gender roles, including mothers. Many women choose to work after having children, even if they have the means to stay home and care for the house and kids. The stigma associated with women who choose to work is unfounded and unfortunate. So while we, as women, are lucky that we have the option to stay home or to work, I still think that there is room to grow.
I am glad that I was able to finally read my first Persephone, and I am happy to say that my collection is growing!
I purchased this book from Persephone Books.