Life Among the Savages

Shirley Jackson is the original Mommy-blogger. Or would be today. In her day she sold her stories to women’s magazines. Life Among the Savages (four children and small town locals) is grimly comic. Her wry observations are delivered in a deadpan tone. You can sense that it wouldn’t take much to push her into setting the same scenes of domestic madness a bit more horrifically as she did in “The Lottery” or “The Haunting of Hill House”. Where a Mommy-blogger would gush or rant, Shirley Jackson’s writing is as dry as a good martini.

I enjoyed the early stories best, the stories about finding and settling in the house. The story involving two cats, a chipmunk and her husband brandishing an air gun not only made me laugh out loud but compelled me to read it to my husband. Most of the book focuses on the children. Having grown up in with seven siblings, I recognized the truth in them, I admired them as well done, but I didn’t find them as interesting or funny. However, I was relieved that I held firm to my resolve to have an only child. Just reading about Shirley Jackson’s savages made me want to grab a cigarette and pour a cocktail.


Life Among the Savages is rather like Calvin and Hobbes from the parents’ point of view.

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