Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What was I expecting? Not exactly this...

Please Don't Eat the Daisies by Jean Kerr
Nope! Not the movie or TV series, but the actual book! 

Published in 1954, this book felt a bit dated to me as I read...although overall it was enjoyable, it lacked the laugh-out-loud moments for me that I was expecting. :) Let me assure you that the copy I purchased for $1.00 from our library book sale was evidently the hardcover minus this cute jacket--plain yellow with the title on the spine in green! Having recently read the Anne of Green Gables series and not long before that Rascal: A Memoir of a Better Era by Sterling North, I was rather surprised that I didn't resonate as well with this book! Firstly, I expected an actual novel, but this is a collection of 15 short stories/vignettes and a humorous introduction, which is fine, but didn't provide the continuity I was expecting. I believe I watched the movie with Doris Day and David Niven many moons ago, though today I discovered it is not available on Netflix! Yipes! I really want to watch it now since I am certain this book/title was simply a jumping off point for both the movie and TV series. 

It felt to me as if the portions of this book with which I resonated were the ones reflecting my own life experiences. In other words, if I had already 'been there, done that,' the writing worked very well for me, but if the situation was outside my world, I was unable to connect very well. Interesting... With that said, I chuckled off and on throughout the book. Kerr has a very enjoyable usually rather subtle 'tongue-in-cheek' level of humor running throughout these stories. And I can certainly appreciate that! Perhaps the characterization was just a bit weak for me. Obviously, with a Goodreads rating of 3.91, I am in the minority and others enjoyed it much more! Good! I always want an author and their works to be successful! 

There are some quotes I would love to share with you. (Of course!) :)

  We are being very careful with our children. They'll never have to pay a psychiatrist...to find out why we rejected them. We'll tell them why we rejected them. Because they're impossible, that's why. (21) 

Hmmm...well, I suppose that is one way to prevent future psychiatric expenses? Or not... ;)

  The twins are four and for several years we have had galvanized iron fencing lashed onto the outside of their bedroom windows. This gives the front of the house a rather institutional look and contributes to unnecessary rumors about my mental health, but it does keep them off the roof, which is what we had in mind. (25)

Ha! I bet it accomplishes all that and more! :)

  Ever since Gilbert was born we had been looking for a larger house, and we knew what we wanted. I wanted a house that would have four bedrooms for the boys, all of them located some distance from the living room--say in the next county somewhere. 

  I also yearned for space near the kitchen for a washer, a dishwasher, a freezer, a dryer, and a large couch where I could lie on sunny days and listen to them all vibrate. (73) 

  When the children were really small we had a little game. I would say, "Are you my friend?" And they would answer, "I'm your good, true friend."

  Well one night when the twins were about three I deposited the two of them in the bathtub while I put the baby to bed. As I was changing the baby on his table, I could hear the sloshing and splashing of what appeared to be an Aquacade in high gear. I called in several times, warning them to stop all the horsing around. Eventually I had to dump the baby in the crib and dash into the bathroom, where I smacked every fanny that was available (and you'd be astounded at how many fannies a pair of twins seem to have). 
  Then, as I beat my retreat back to the bedroom, there was an eerie silence--broken at last by Johnny, who announced in cold, sinister tones, "Well, she's just lost two good, true friends." 
  I confess that the enormity of my loss did give me pause. I was unnerved for days. (151)
I swear this reminded me of the time when I was sitting on the toilet and yelled for my mother to wipe my butt and she responded that she would be there in a minute. I then yelled "If you don't come wipe my butt right now, I'll never let you do it again!" As if that was some great honor! ;)

On diets...

  And why, why is the married woman being hounded into starvation in order to duplicate an ideal figure which is neither practical nor possible for a person her age? I'll tell you why.
  First, it is presumed that when you're thinner you live longer. (In any case, when you live on a diet of yogurt and boiled grapefruit, it seems longer.) Second, it is felt that when you are skin and bones you have so much extra energy that you can climb up and shingle the roof. Third--and this is what they're really getting at--when you're think you are so tasty and desirable that strange men will pinch you at the A&P and your husband will not only follow you around the kitchen breathing heavily but will stop and smother you with kisses as you try to put the butter back in the icebox. This--and I hope those in the back of the room are listening--is hogwash. (173)

And there are some out-and-out jokes:

  A writer I once heard about flew to Evanston to visit his eighty-year-old mother who had just had an operation. Arriving, he met a nurse in the corridor, asked for a report on the patient, and was told that she had made all the routine objections to being put on ther feet five days after the operation but that the staff had been firm, quite firm, and no the old lady was trotting around like everybody else. The writer was deeply impressed. "Good lord," he said, "she hasn't walked in five years." (183)

At 187 pages this was a quick read, though I spread it out over a couple months. I would pick it up and read a story between other books, or else when I was out and about and needed just a short something to read. It worked well for me in that way. It certainly doesn't qualify as a favorite read for me, but it was enjoyable and light. I guess I would call this collection 'cute and quaint'!

Have you read this or anything else written by Jean Kerr? What did you think?


  1. Oh, goodness, this seems like it would be a fun read. I remember loving that movie and especially the TV show. It's so hard when things don't hold up over time like you remember. Which makes me think twice about watching the movie or TV show again. I love Doris Day. Thanks for sharing this, those quotes are great.

    1. Yes, these bits were for me, some of the most enjoyable. I would definitely watch the movie. Looks like I'd need to use Amazon to do so, however, and I try to stay as far away from that corporation as I can. But who knows? I might... I also love Doris Day! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Those quotes are hilarious! I may need to read something like this book on those days when parenting is a grind.

    1. Oh, definitely! I would highly recommend it for those of you with children in the house still! :)