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Community Lecture Series: The Truth and I: Reading Betty MacDonald in the Age of the Memoir

  • East Benton County History Museum 205 West Keewaydin Drive Kennewick, WA, 99336 United States (map)

Community Lecture Series

A Humanities Washington Program organized by Columbia Basin College

The Truth and I: Reading Betty MacDonald in the Age of the Memoir.

Presented by Paula Becker

 About the Presentation  Betty MacDonald burst onto the American literary scene in 1945 with her memoir,  The Egg and I , a tartly witty tale about operating a chicken ranch on Washjington'sdauntingly wild Olympic Penisula. Betty's vivacity, offbeat humor, and irreverent take on life captured a public ready to laugh again after the grim, hard years of World War II. During its first year,  The Egg and I  sold one copy every 22 seconds.  Although she wrote autobiographically, Bett's relationship with the truth was slippery. During a 1951 libel suit, Betty testified that she'd made up nearly all of  The Egg and   I  --questionable testimony that worked in her favor. Betty's reader seemed not to mind this discrepancy, but, why? This talk, led by journalist and Betty MacDonald biographer Paula Becker, ponders how Betty's kind of nonfiction related to the popular genre of memoir today. What--then and now--does "truth" in memoir mean? 

About the Presentation

Betty MacDonald burst onto the American literary scene in 1945 with her memoir, The Egg and I, a tartly witty tale about operating a chicken ranch on Washjington'sdauntingly wild Olympic Penisula. Betty's vivacity, offbeat humor, and irreverent take on life captured a public ready to laugh again after the grim, hard years of World War II. During its first year, The Egg and I sold one copy every 22 seconds.

Although she wrote autobiographically, Bett's relationship with the truth was slippery. During a 1951 libel suit, Betty testified that she'd made up nearly all of The Egg and I --questionable testimony that worked in her favor. Betty's reader seemed not to mind this discrepancy, but, why? This talk, led by journalist and Betty MacDonald biographer Paula Becker, ponders how Betty's kind of nonfiction related to the popular genre of memoir today. What--then and now--does "truth" in memoir mean? 

Earlier Event: May 20
Teddy Bear Tea Party