Book Talk Home | Search Book Talk | Login | RSS
Not Logged in.
Book Jacket
Next to Love
"A lustrous evocation of a stormy period in our past; highly recommended for...
Summary and Reviews
Excerpt
Reading Guide
Author Biography

All three women are relatively wealthy but do not spend excessively. What do you think this says about the beginning of the most prosperous period in America’s history and our own era?

Created: 04/30/12

Replies: 8

Posted Apr. 30, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
admin

Join Date: 10/11/10

Posts: 369

Expert

All three women are relatively wealthy but do not spend excessively. What do you think this says about the beginning of the most prosperous period in America’s history and our own era?

Babe was a poor girl who married into the middle class. Both of Grace’s husbands had plenty of money. After the war, Millie’s husband Al makes a small fortune. Yet their lives remain in many way similar. They have cleaning women but not staffs of maids, nannies, and drivers. They shop, but not excessively. What do you think this says about the beginning of the most prosperous period in America’s history and our own era?


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

Expert

RE: All three women are relatively wealthy but do not spend excessively. What do you think this says about the beginning of the most prosperous period in America’s history and our own era?

I always marvel at how much disposable income most people I know seem to have. We're middle class, so not wealthy as such as much as comfortable. I wonder if, having grown up with parents who likely lived during the Great Depression, these characters were affected by their experiences?


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
BamaCarol

Join Date: 04/16/12

Posts: 29

RE: All three women are relatively wealthy but do not spend excessively. What do you think this says about the beginning of the most prosperous period in America’s history and our own era?

I think that today, as a society, we define 'need' much differently than this book's era. Most people I know purchase things they 'need' but we also put most purchases in that category. My parents had one car for the family until I was in college and when we did get that second car, it was shared by several of us. A young couple just starting out today feels they 'need' granite countertops, stainless appliances and on and on. I know that my husband and I have been guilty of that. I marvel at what my dad made for a living, wondering how the family was able to live as well as we did but I believe that it came down to defining what was truly a need vs. a want and living within their means. Their parents did not have credit and they passed on the virtue of paying as you go to my parents generation.


Posted May. 03, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

Expert

RE: All three women are relatively wealthy but do not spend excessively. What do you think this says about the beginning of the most prosperous period in America’s history and our own era?

BamaCarol, I like your point regarding "need" vs. "want." I'm forever saying to my kids, when they want something, "Do you know the difference between need and want?!"

Oh, they do, but the peer pressure to have what other kids have, to be able to participate in conversations and identify with them is great. Not that it hasn't always been. But today what people tend to have are expensive electronics - the kind we're all using right now, for instance!

In this world, though, it's hard to imagine living without computers and the internet. And, from there, comes buying DSL or a cable modem. If your business or favorite pastimes are online, then you "need" a laptop and/or smart phone so it's portable and can travel with you. And so on and so on...

My parents were born in the mid-1930s and grew up in relative poverty in rural Mississippi. If you needed something you had to save and children didn't have all the toys my own kids grew up with. They had to live with something my kids almost never feel - boredom. I could go on and on about how important periods of boredom are, how connected to creativity, learning to make your own fun. From that come innovative ideas, or those prone to coming up with them.

Each generation has more than the generation before. Or so it's been so far. Makes you wonder what will happen should that bubble ever pop, sending us all back a few generations. It's possible this particular discussion question may be more than theoretical someday.


Posted May. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
michelleh

Join Date: 05/10/12

Posts: 4

RE: All three women are relatively wealthy but do not spend excessively. What do you think this says about the beginning of the most prosperous period in America’s history and our own era?

Lisa G asks what will happen should the wealth/income "bubble ever pop." It appears that it will, and, sadly, the idea of living below our means seems totally foreign to us today. During the post WWII era, the Great Depression was very fresh in people's minds. I think the women in the book were probably very much like others of their generation. Today's way of life is to spend all one makes. Based on personal experience, I think there was greater emphasis on saving in the novel's time period. My grandparents were middle-class, working people, but they ALWAYS lived below their means. It's an idea and a skill I hope people can return to.

I wonder if this was a part of the novel the author researched and consciously chose to portray in this manner, or if it just seemed to her like a natural extension of the story.


Posted May. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
BarbW

Join Date: 04/09/11

Posts: 13

RE: All three women are relatively wealthy but do not spend excessively. What do you think this says about the beginning of the most prosperous period in America’s history and our own era?

A lot of family members who went through the Great Depression are still thrifty with their money. Part of it is because they still don't trust the financial markets, etc. and want to make sure they have a reserve on hand in case something like the Depression comes along again. But I think part of it is also that inflation, just the simple process of prices rising over the years, hasn't really registered with them. They don't understand, for example, that $50,000 now doesn't buy the same type of house it did when they were buying their first home.


Posted May. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
elizabethw

Join Date: 05/10/12

Posts: 9

RE: All three women are relatively wealthy but do not spend excessively. What do you think this says about the beginning of the most prosperous period in America’s history and our own era?

Today's depression-era survivors continue to be very frugal. Changing spending habits is a generational change and would not have been experienced by these ladies. Their children, however, would have begun to feel financial freedom and security. Unfortunately, in today's society, spending has exceeded income and financial security no longer exists.


Posted May. 22, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Peggy H

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 45

RE: All three women are relatively wealthy but do not spend excessively. What do you think this says about the beginning of the most prosperous period in America’s history and our own era?

I did not think that Millie was that frugal. Remember she was caught up in the search for a bigger house. She recalls admiring King's house when young. Babe was a teacher's wife. Believe me teacher's pay was not high during that time.


Pegh
Posted Jun. 14, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
pschulze

Join Date: 08/08/11

Posts: 5

RE: All three women are relatively wealthy but do not spend excessively. What do you think this says about the beginning of the most prosperous period in America’s history and our own era?

I agree with ElizabeyhW. My parents were of that generation and nevertheless were always fearful that the depression would return.


Reply

Please login to post a response.