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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Virginia Nicholson - Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes

Book Review written by Maggie Perkovic & read live on bookshow 23rd April 2015.
The full title is " " The story of women in the 1950s
Growing up in the fifities, not long after the war I enjoyed this book tremendously.
The adverts. of the times say it all, smart housewives with smart kitchens
smiling with joy at looking after handsome husbands and well behaved children.
We could have education and even go to University but you must give it all
up when you married to look after house and home. No fridges, so shop every
day, no washing machines so wash and mangle and put on the line. Life was
housework with a day for every chore, washing ironing cleaning, no end to it.
This book goes into the problem if you wanted be a bit different and have a
career instead of a husband. Then you were a failure. A baby out of wedlock?
Oh no, adopted or a rushed marriage, or the ultimate shame followed you and
the baby all its life.
The author has spoken to many women who were happy to discuss their lives, and
a wonderful contrast is between the young ladies working for Yardley in Mayfair
and looking down on the "street ladies" owned by the Messina brothers who
rose about four in the afternoon and began to look for business.A whole chapter
is devoted to "The Game" and you learn what is entailed, how much you charge,
and how you are owned by your pimp, for want of a better word.A murky world
indeed but all part of the fifties where the world was still struggling to survive
after a war that showed women could have a more productive role in the world
but were still expected to be the carers for house and home. Without a man
you appeared to be less important.
Very good book, well researched and enjoyable. Maggie Perkovic.

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