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Blandings' Way by Eric Hodgins
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Comments for Blandings' Way

Blandings' Way: 09/18/14

cover art

Blandings' Way by Eric Hodgins is the sequel to the hilarious roman a clef, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. Now that the house is built, the Blandings family settle in with being residents of a small Connecticut town.

The problem of purchasing or building a larger home on cheaper land, out in the countryside away from one's job is the commute. Daily routines stop being about family meals and become instead about getting to and from work. Lingering too long over morning coffee means a missed train. A late night in the office means a night in the city away from family. Finally, there's a cultural disconnect that develops between the home town and city; they don't share the same issues or follow the same ebb and flow.

The Blandings family goes through all these states. The daughters, sent away to school, grow into their own people and take their parents by surprise. Mrs. Blandings as a homemaker is perhaps the most in tune with their adopted town. She becomes a gardener and in her exuberance over does it in a few places but still manages to make Blandings Way a better home.

The person suffering the most from the move is naturally Mr. Blandings. He is the one commuting. He is the one living half his day in Manhattan's hustle and bustle and the other half in a sleepy Connecticut town that can trace its roots back to colonial days. He more than anyone feels the need to find a niche for himself in his adopted town.

Now interestingly, Mr. Blandings and his home are modeled on real life. Eric Hodgins was the vice president of Time Inc and did build a home in New Milford, Connecticut. The expenses of maintaing the house ended up being too much for him and he had to short sell the place a few years later. In 1992, The New York Times published an article about the house. Interestingly, too, there are now copies of the home scattered across the country in part as a promotion for the release of the film Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.

If you're interested in reading the book, the Internet Archive has a digital copy courtesy of the University of Florida.

Four stars

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