I'm finally getting to a book on my 2013 TBR Challenge list! This is pretty exciting for me, and it was a great start, because the book was fascinating.
First, some background of my own journey with the Gilbreths: I read Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on their Toes in high school and loved them. (I also liked the original movie from the 50s, but I'm still angry that the 2003 remake dared use the same title, the jerks. They kept nothing of the original.) So, when I heard there was a book all about "Mother," I was eager to get my eyes on it.
I realised as I read this that my timing of the Gilbreths' story was off-- most of the children were old enough to be my grandparents' parents, while for some reason as a teenager I thought they were contemporaries with my grandparents. Apparently, everything before 1950 all happened at once, in my teenage mind. Lillian Moller was born 100 years before I was, and I know nothing about my family at that time. So I'm kind of sad about that, now that I think of it.
Anyway, the book. I think for those who aren't interested in knowing more about the behind-the-scenes look at Lillian's life, it may be dry or unbearably long. I was fascinated, though, and progressively more amazed at all the things that the Gilbreths had influence in developing-- the modern kitchen layout, ergonomic office furniture, space shuttles-- I can't believe I've never heard of their influence over so many things, but presumably that's because I'm not an engineering type.
The insights into Lillian's early life were revealing, too-- she rejected the society woman life of the early 1900s for a more strenuous lifestyle. I found her work ethic and drive to be inspiring-- she really took here life's work to heart and didn't waste her time. I wonder if living in the era before television helped, or if she would be just as interested in working today and the TV wouldn't bother her. On the other hand, how much faster could she have worked with the help of a laptop with wi-fi?
I definitely enjoyed the book & recommend it to people who enjoy this sort of in-depth look at one person's life-- and if you're already a fan of the Gilbreths, that will help!