Other Sellers on Amazon
Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more
Read instantly on your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.
Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.
Enter your mobile phone or email address
By pressing "Send link," you agree to Amazon's Conditions of Use.
You consent to receive an automated text message from or on behalf of Amazon about the Kindle App at your mobile number above. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Message & data rates may apply.
Follow the Author
Life Among the Savages Paperback – May 5, 2015
|New from||Used from|
Explore your book, then jump right back to where you left off with Page Flip.
View high quality images that let you zoom in to take a closer look.
Enjoy features only possible in digital – start reading right away, carry your library with you, adjust the font, create shareable notes and highlights, and more.
Discover additional details about the events, people, and places in your book, with Wikipedia integration.
Enhance your purchase
Frequently bought together
-Ruth Franklin, New York Times Book Review
"Charming…you’ll see every parenting stance you’ve ever adopted, every parent-story trope you’ve ever told or heard, expressed more perfectly than you ever could have…Reading Shirley Jackson, one of the great memoirists of family life, makes sharp those feelings once more—while reminding us that, yes, thank god and curse time, we too will one day look back on them across a gulf of years.”
-Dan Kois, Slate
"Many who profess an admiration for Shirley Jackson, often described as a 'writer's writer' do not usually include her thinly veiled memoirs of motherhood. But it is precisely these hilariously eviscerating, keenly observed, and genersou books that I and many other writers who happen to be mothers, adore.
"As warm as it is hilarious and believable...Never has the state of domestic chaos been so perfectly illuminated."
–New York Times Book Review
"When it comes to just sheer honest, wry, frustrated, finding-ways-to-appreciate-it writing about family life, we all sit at Shirley Jackson’s feet"
-New York Times Motherlode
"Very funny… Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons are each a good place to begin for those who have never read any Shirley Jackson.”
-The New Republic
"Jackson artfully loves and portrays her children. She writes of their fast growth into formidable personalities with dismayed narration and lovely direct quotes, all charmingly subjective. Her view of their sayings and doings is certainly sophisticated but far from cynical or objective."
"A housewife-mother’s frustrations are transformed by a deft twist of the wrist into, not a grim account of disintegration and madness, still less the poisoning of her family, but light-hearted comedy."
–Joyce Carol Oates
"Jackson isn’t all eerie uncertainties and lonely housewives. Those who know her work only from 'The Lottery' or Hill House may be surprised to discover that she could also be very funny...Jackson’s two lighthearted memoirs, are filled with droll observations and amusing mishaps."
–William Brennan, Slate
About the Author
- Publisher : Penguin Books; Reissue edition (May 5, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 240 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0143128043
- ISBN-13 : 978-0143128045
- Item Weight : 6.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 0.7 x 7.7 x 5.1 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #230,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
But with Shirley Jackson at the wheel, there's usually a shiv or a shiver underneath the domestic goings-on. One housekeeper frosts her cookies with "Repent, Sinner"; another borrows a few bucks and flees town with her felon boyfriend. Another story has the kids all excited about their next visit to "Pudge" over the hill, where the children live beneath the water of the pond and an afternoon visit might take years . . . Sadly, due to multiple addictions to liquor, smoking, pills and even chocolate (obesity), not to mention likely overwork, the real Shirley Jackson did not live to see fifty. How fortunate we are to have not only her scary work but this supremely funny book and its sequel, RAISING DEMONS.
Jackson is known for literally scaring the daylights out of her readers, however, in her memoir she does quite the opposite. She paints the picture of a life that is chaotic at times, which is expected raising children and trying to manage a career at home (her writing), all the while with a somewhat aloof husband.
Picture a Leave it to Beaver-esque setting where things might look just so from the outside but inside, Jackson cleverly inserts her wry humor to show us that at any moment she might be taken over by her army of children, school clothes shopping that will make you wish you could take her into the future of online shopping, meals to cook that she would rather not, or a furnace about to break, array of books about to topple, or “the husband” also known as “their father” who seems like an accessory they can get on with or without.
Jackson was ahead of her time in many ways. Exhibiting a free-range parenting style, being a WFH woman. And, if the internet had been invented, no doubt she would have teased her book on insta for others to take deep sighs of relief, knowing that they too need not be engaged in mommy wars and instead, spend some me time in a room of your own and the dishes can wait until morning.
Off to read the follow-up, published a few years later, RAISING DEMONS, which is sure to be as delightful.
Shirley also disproves the theory that adverbs are always a sign of weak writing. With a comedy such as this, at least, she manages to use them to great effect. In fact, the adverb is often the knee-slapping moment in the sentence.
Highly recommended! Can't wait to read Raising Demons next. Also, the audio production for this is superb.
Top reviews from other countries
This is the 1950's so parenting was a little more relaxed then, to put it lightly. No seat belts, cigarettes packed as part of your maternity bag, and other such facts, put this firmly in the past. Other stories, though, are still quite resonant. Like the time when Shirley's son comes home, claiming to have been attacked by another boy and she is pushed into calling the boys mother. After a fraught argument, the two find themselves standing the store the next morning and immediately agree at who was really at fault.
Although this shows a totally different side to Shirley Jackson, she retains her sharp wit in this. As when discussing how hopeless she was at housework and how utterly useless she was at getting help. One girl responded to, "an ad I put in the paper, and someone apparently read it to Hope," the author slyly remarks. Very Jackson.
From moving house, to a trip to a department store, bats, cats and chipmunks, I adored this book. I am pleased that the second book of memoirs, "Raising Demons," is going to be re-published next year on kindle and look forward to reading on. Shirley Jackson never fails to delight me.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 6, 2020