This book remains one of my mom’s favorites to this day years after she first read it. I remember reading it years ago, but I couldn’t remember anything about it. So once my mother was finished with it, I took it and read it in a few nights.
Now, as this is technically Non-fiction, I wasn’t expecting Cheaper by the Dozen to be a fun read at all. Not the case. The two Gilbreth children who co-wrote this book knew how to take their childhood and put it into a form that was fun and enjoyable to read.
Anything that was sad was immediately followed by something that was at least a bit uplifting, even if it was a comment such as “well, now it’s up to me. Think you can manage here alone?” that was seen at the end of the book.
Each chapter could be it’s own stand alone short story, but when read one after another, it paints a humorous, yet somewhat strange life of 12 children–six boys and six girls–living together in a house in then early 1900s.
Some of my favorite stories and life-instances are Dad teaching everyone morse code by painting it on the walls of their lake cottage, taking rides around the town in one of the earliest cars and having to fight with the car once it had stopped to get it running again, and how the eldest child, a girl, decided that she was just going to have to go get her hair cut in a bob, or else everyone younger than her would never manage to be fashionable because Dad just wouldn’t allow it!
Cheaper by the Dozen is a very short book, which makes it good for a bit of light reading just before bed. Just, don’t expect to get to bed on time when you planned on it. The Gilbreths are very good at sucking you into their life and charming you with their tales.
This book is nothing at all like the movie (indeed, the only thing they have in common is the title), and truly deserves five out of five stars.