Cheaper by the Dozen

Cheaper by the DozenCheaper by the DozenCheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey by Frank B Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

I dithered quite a bit about whether this was a 4-star read, or only 3 1/2, and eventually decided that if I had to think about it that much, I should probably go with the lower rating. So this is somewhere between an “I liked it” to “I really liked it!”

The biggest downsides to the book are that it is quite dated – there are some jokes that are thankfully no longer generally regarded as humorous which are casually included. It’s somewhat jarring at times now, but then again it’s maybe a bit unfair to criticize the book that much for something that was no big deal at the time.

It’s a fairly short book, and very quick to read – I was somewhat disappointed to come to the end of it and wished I had the sequel, Belles on Their ToesBelles on Their Toes by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, ready to dive into! I’m looking forward to reading more about what happens with the Gilbreth family.

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Publisher’s Description:
The classic American memoir of twelve kids, two parents, and a world of laughter and love

Translated into more than fifty languages and adapted into two classic motion pictures, Cheaper by the Dozen is the unforgettable story of the Gilbreth clan as told by two of its members. In this endearing, amusing memoir, siblings Frank Jr. and Ernestine capture the hilarity and heart of growing up in an oversized family.

Mother and Dad are world-renowned efficiency experts, helping factories fine-tune their assembly lines for maximum output at minimum cost. At home, the Gilbreths themselves have cranked out twelve kids, and Dad is out to prove that efficiency principles can apply to family as well as the workplace. The heartwarming and comic stories of the jumbo-sized Gilbreth clan have delighted generations of readers, and will keep you and yours laughing for years.

This ebook features an illustrated biography including rare photos from the authors’ estates.

Book Details

Title: Cheaper by the DozenCheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
Authors: Frank B Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
Category: Nonfiction / Memoir
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

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  1. I read this book as a kid, and I absolutely loved it. The novelty of such a large family, and applying all the efficiency principles to a household, was really interesting to me. (Could be partially because both my parents grew up in very large households and it’s a bit challenging for me to even wrap my head around how you managed with that many kids!)

  2. I read that a few years ago and really liked it. I loved the story of the mom deciding to try a hospital birth, and then she got so annoyed with the hospital that she just walked home with her suitcase. There were a lot of gems like that, but sometimes that whole story didn’t fit together quite as well. I know that the author(s) acknowledged that they had a sister die and their father die, but sometimes I think they glossed over the hard things to make a coherent story. I mean I wouldn’t want to write a memoir about my own family, that would be really hard to get right, so I think Frank and Ernestine did a great job capturing the love and energy of the Gilbreths.

    • That was a really good part – and then didn’t she finally have a hospital birth with #12 and wish she’d gone that route earlier?

      There were a bunch of funny anecdotes that still have me chuckling. Maybe I should have give it 4 stars…

      They definitely glossed over some things to keep it lighter, and I agree with you that the two authors did a great job of capturing the love and energy of that family – that’s a great way of putting it!

  3. Dorothy K. says:

    I remember reading this book quite a few years ago as a young wife and mother and laughing out loud at some of the stories! I found the sequel “Belles on Their Toes” and read that, too, but didn’t enjoy it quite as much. Maybe in the absence of the family patriarch, their struggles were not so lighthearted. Anyway, this is definitely a fun read about a very interesting family.

    • I think not having the dad would change the tone of the sequel quite a bit – he was such a huge figure in the first book! It was hard reading about his death and the immediate aftermath in this book, and I did wonder how the second would be without him.

  4. I read this book as a child and it was totally life-changing. Reading that book opened my eyes to the world of efficiency and made me wonder how I could maximize my efforts from organizing my desk to doing tasks around the house; I know I thought about drying off after bathing and I def. thought of that book when we built our kitchen! It probably tapped into some latent OCD aspects of my personality! =D


  1. […] was reminded of this series after scheduling my review of Cheaper By the Dozen, and I’m so glad I read the follow-up title – I enjoyed it just as much as the first […]

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