Lisa Grunwald biography

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Lisa Grunwald
Photo: Jon LaPook

Lisa Grunwald

Lisa Grunwald Biography

Lisa Grunwald is the author of the novels Whatever Makes You Happy, New Year's Eve, The Theory of Everything, and Summer. Along with her husband, Stephen J. Adler, she edited the bestselling anthologies Women's Letters and Letters of the Century. Grunwald is a former contributing editor to Life and a former features editor of Esquire. She and her husband live in New York City.

Lisa Grunwald's website

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Interview

Lisa Grunwald discusses the shocking (and now outdated) practice that inspired her novel, The Irresistible Henry House - using real, orphaned babies to teach college classes on mothering.

When you talk to people who've read The Irresistible Henry House, what's the first question they usually ask?
It's almost always whether the story was actually based on a real practice, whether people actually used real babies to teach college classes on mothering. The answer is yes, but I've sent a lot of incredulous people to the Cornell University website where I first found the photograph that helped inspire the novel.

How did that discovery come about?
In 2005, I was doing research for an anthology of American women's letters. Specifically I was hoping to find a letter from a home economics student. There was an online exhibit at the Cornell website called "What Was Home Economics?" Among other photographs was this captivating image of a baby called "Bobby Domecon" - the last name a combination of "Domestic" and "Economics." (Historian Joan Jacobs Brumberg at Cornell told me that it's pronounced "Dough-me-con.") I quickly learned that at Cornell, from the 1920s through the 1960s, babies supplied by local orphanages were used to teach mothering skills to students, who would take turns bathing and feeding and dressing their charges. Last time I checked, the site was still up at www.cornell.edu, and it's well worth a look.

...

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Books by this Author

Books by Lisa Grunwald at BookBrowse
The Irresistible Henry House jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Lisa Grunwald but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • T.C. Boyle

    T.C. Boyle

    Growing up, T. Coraghessan Boyle did not aspire to be a writer. He attended State University of New York as a music student but ended up as a history and English major. He says, "I went there to be a music major but ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Irresistible Henry House

    Try:
    Drop City
    by T.C. Boyle

  • George Hagen

    George Hagen

    George Hagen was born in 1958 in Harare, Zimbabwe. His parents are from South Africa, and, like the itinerant family described in his novel, The Laments, they couldn't stay put anywhere. By 1964 he was living in the suburbs ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Irresistible Henry House

    Try:
    The Laments
    by George Hagen

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Book Discussion
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First Impressions

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