Anybody Can Do Anything

  • by Betty MacDonald
  • Narrated by Heather Henderson
  • 8 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"The best thing about the Depression was the way it reunited our family and gave my sister Mary a real opportunity to prove that anybody can do anything, especially Betty."
After surviving both the failed chicken farm - and marriage - immortalized in The Egg and I, Betty MacDonald returns to live with her mother and desperately searches to find a job to support her two young daughters. With the help of her older sister Mary, Anybody Can Do Anything recounts her failed, and often hilarious, attempts to find work during the Great Depression.

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Depression years in Seattle - Interesting!

Betty MacDonald returns us to her humorous world, this time during the Great Depression in Seattle. This book is set after her tales of the chicken farm (captured in The Egg and I) and covers her various job fiascoes before and after her stint in a tuberculosis sanatorium (as told in The Plague and I).

Betty is the second oldest child in a family of 4 daughters and 1 son. Her older sister Mary was always getting the younger kids to do what she wanted, either by trickery or by simply assuming they would do so and telling them all the reasons it’s in their best interest as well. This book starts off with Betty’s earliest years and all those school-year pranks and hi-jinks her sister Mary organized. For me, these were cute, quaint stories but didn’t interest me nearly as much as her other two books.

The book then skips ahead several years to directly after Betty’s failed marriage and her coming home from the chicken farm to live with her mom and siblings, bringing her two toddling daughters. I found these little stories more to my liking. Basically, it’s all about Betty and Mary, and occasionally one of the other siblings, finding and keeping work during the Depression int eh 1930s in Seattle. Mary was somewhat of a genius at getting her siblings jobs. Basically, she would claim that she or one of her siblings had the skills that whatever employer was looking for. She often stretched the truth and in those cases where she lied, she did make an effort to get either herself or her sibling acquainted with the skill before reporting to work.

Betty rarely had steady work; either the position was temporary from the beginning or the business closed. Her bosses could be a terror as well, acting like temperamental children with the power to fire people. Sometimes the men hiring secretaries were looking for ladies with special skills, skills that Mary and Betty weren’t willing to take on in a hired position. The there are her funny stories of going into debt and how she managed to get out of it. Yet through it all, Betty tells these tales with such humor. I’ve really enjoyed that about these books. She doesn’t paint a rosy picture, instead telling it how it is yet she maintains the ability to laugh at the situation (and sometimes herself).

My favorite story in this one is about a mysterious young lady that joined Betty in the task of folding flyers and sealing them in envelopes for mailing out later. This young lady seemed lonely but was almost assuredly disturbed. She stalked Betty and made both friendly little gestures and mean, even threatening, gestures and comments. It was a very strange encounter that went on for a few weeks. It became one of those unsolved mysteries turned family joke that her family like to pick over on boring evening.

This was a fun book but I prefer both The Egg and I and The Plague and I. With both of those books, there was a clear story arc. This book was a series of anecdotal tales tied together by Betty’s or Mary’s presence. While an enjoyable book, it didn’t carry the weight of the other two.

I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobookworm.

The Narration: Heather Henderson seemed to have some fun with this book. She’s still a great Betty MacDonald, but she’s also a great Mary Bard. I loved the play between these two sisters and Hendersen does a great job of bringing that to life in the narration.
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- DabOfDarkness

One thing Betty has is optimism in bucket loads.

What did you love best about Anybody Can Do Anything?

Anyone who has read my blog recently will know I am a convert and huge fan of Betty books. They have the ability to raise a smile on the darkest of days and make me giggle quietly to myself.


Who was your favorite character and why?

The overwhelming sense of family still floods through, the descriptions of the area and community are fabulous. The beauty of this series is the way Betty talks/writes to the readers, she either draws you in with her wit or makes you scream in frustration at her acid tongue.


Have you listened to any of Heather Henderson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I almost get withdrawal symptoms when I finish a ‘Betty’ book .. thankfully I have another lined up ready to listen to! I have no idea what I will do when I have heard them all, probably start at the beginning again because I am bound to get just as much enjoyment a second time around.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I listened to this on audiobook so probably confused a few members of the public when I suddenly began laughing for no apparent reason!


Any additional comments?

This time Betty has returned to the family home following her divorce *scandal* accompanied by her kids. It is imperative she finds employment but during the depression of the 30’s in the USA jobs were few and far between. Her sister Mary decides she will assist matters and coach Betty in all areas of work and find her a suitable job. Mary happens to know a lot of people which is fortunate considering how haphazard Betty can be .. she goes through jobs like a dose of salts.
The memoir goes into great detail and is wonderfully amusing. One thing Betty has is optimism in bucket loads. And Mary is so confident that ‘Anybody Can Do Anything’ hence the title. It was quite an education in itself just hearing about all the different jobs Betty applied for .. remember this was a long time ago so obviously times have changed and frankly they have altered for the better.
The narrator as usual was brilliant, she has a comforting voice that entices you to listen. She has a wide variety of ‘voices’ for the characters and is easy to follow. I almost get withdrawal symptoms when I finish a ‘Betty’ book .. thankfully I have another lined up ready to listen to!
Many thanks to Post Hypnotic Press and Jess at AudioBookWorm for introducing me to these marvellous stories .. I reviewed voluntarily.

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- Ali - The Dragon Slayer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-30-2016
  • Publisher: Post Hypnotic Press Inc.