Book review: Housewife Superstar

Book: Household Superstar (link)
Author: Danielle Woods
Published: November 2011

This was one great read and I am about to post it to my mother to read as I know she will also thoroughly enjoy it.  The book is about Marjorie Pearsall, born in 1917 in Tasmania (Australia).  Like women of her time, her one desire was to marry, have children and run her home the very best she could.  She strongly believed that part of being a good housewife was living frugally and she used her creativity to make sure nothing went to waste in her home.  She was so good at running her home, baking, making her own household cleaning produces, knitting, crafts, gardening etc... she wrote a number of books, newspaper columns and became quite famous back in the 1950-1970s (I had never heard of her though).
Marjorie in 1955

Even though her desire was to create a perfect imagine of a wife and mother, sadly her life wasn't so perfect.  Her first husband was violent, resulting in a divorce (during a time when divorce was frown upon) and one of her sons never spoke to her again, her second husband, whom she adored, died after 10 years of marriage, likewise her third husband also died, leaving her a widow. She had problems with step daughters . . . life wasn't quite as straightforward as she portrayed it. But none of it stopped her energy to create and make a home.

The book not only tells her life-story, it includes poems (that I will be including over the coming weeks), recipes, "helpful hints" (some of which I will share with you today as they are quite amusing), gardening tips and knitting, party ideas etc.... 

One way to recycle plastic bags
This book is well worth reading . . . it is about a time long gone . . . when most wives remained at home . . . however Marjorie was no ordinary wife - she was the Nigella Lawson of the 1950's, perhaps a little more eccentric. Even though Marjorie doesn't talk about her religious beliefs, I get the idea from the poems that she has included that she is a Christian woman.

Rating: ★★★★★

Here are some of Marjorie's tips
  • Part of her "no waste" attitude she would knit or crochet items out of panty hoses of plastic shopping bags!!
  • If you run out of blush for the cheeks, Marjorie suggests cutting a beetroot in half and slap it on your cheeks.
  • If you live in the country and walk to dances/parties and want to protect the bottom of your ball gown, make 2 leg holes in a rubbish bag, pull it up to the waist with the skirt safely inside - the frock won't get dirty (I would love to see this!!!)
  • Don't have any eyebrow liner - don't panic, take a match, burn the tip until blacken, let cool and use it as a pencil liner!
  • When baby is able to sit up for a photograph, stick some cellulose tape on the palm of his hands, the antics whilst trying to remove it as delightful!
        And many more are contained in the book.
Marjorie liked to exhibit pies, cakes, scones etc at the local Shows - she usually won.


  1. Sounds like a fun book to read! Hope your mother enjoys it, and is feeling better!

  2. Sounds funny!!! Those tips you wrote at the end of your post are hilarious!! :)

  3. It is amazing how frugal one can be if required... it sounds like a fun book! Blessings, Glenys

  4. Sounds interesting and inspiring...that even through her struggles she stayed true to what she enjoyed...making a home

  5. Thank you so much~seems like a wonderful find of Joy :) From Northern California rural town of Rio Dell, mrs. ana


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