Married… With Children Character Review: Peg Bundy

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television show Married… With Children. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

The image of the classic sitcom housewife is as follows: she cleans her house, takes care of her children and husband, cooks delicious meals, dispenses advice, and does with a smile on her face. There is little in the way of unhappiness or wanting more. Peg Bundy (Katey Sagal) is the exact opposite of this vision of maternal perfection. She can’t cook to save her life, her house is a mess, her children are undisciplined, and she mocks her husband Al (Ed O’Neill) for the fun of it.

Knocked up by Al in high school, their wedding was far from a grand, romantic affair. Instead of being wise with the income that comes in from her husband’s job, she picks his pockets frequently and dresses in a way that some might view as inappropriate for a mother. When her kids are in school and Al is at work, Peg can be found on the living room couch, feigning housework, watching daytime TV, and stuffing her face.

But for all of her crassness and lack of caring, Peg does her best, in her own way. She is loyal to her husband and is raising the next generation the best way she knows how to.

Donna Reed, Peg is not. But in going against type, she reflects the everyday woman, even if her character is exaggerated. Real-life is complicated, as we all know. So are marriage and being a parent. It is those complications that make her unique, interesting, and forever funny.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

How to Be an Antiracist Book Review

Intrisincingly, we know that racism is wrong. But after 400 years, how do we break with ideas and stereotypes that are built into our world and our perception?

How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi was published in 2019.

Antiracism is defined as follows:

A person who opposes racism and promotes racial tolerance.

In this best-selling, life-altering book, Kendi speaks the cold and hard truth about racism, its effect on society, and what we can do to overcome it. He is unafraid to challenge his readers to look at their own racist views (even if they claim otherwise) and force us to face reality. Backing up the narrative is his own story, historical facts, law, science, etc, he is telling us what we need to do to create a better world. But in order to do that, we must first be willing and able to confront our own sins.

This has to be one of the foremost important books of our era. Though in many ways, our culture is moving forward, we are still besieged by old ideas of what a person should be based on factors such as skin color, family background, gender, etc. The test before us is as follows: Are we bold enough to tear down the impressions from the past or will we remain frozen in place, too scared to do what needs to be done?

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

How to Be an Antiracist is available wherever books are sold.

The Winter Guest: A Novel Book Review

One of the offshoots of war is being forced to grow up quickly. Childhood quickly changes to adulthood when a young person must make decisions that would in peacetime, be made years later.

The Winter Guest: A Novel by Pam Jenoff, was published in 2014. In a small town in Poland during World War II, eighteen-year-old Polish-Catholic twins Ruth and Helena Nowak are no longer living as carefree teenagers. With their father dead and their mother hospitalized, the girls are both parenting themselves and their younger siblings. Adding insult to injury, the war is creating shortages and making a hard life even harder.

Things change when Helena rescues Sam, an American Jewish soldier. She quickly falls in love with him, and he with her. Her time with him threatens to break the tight bond between the sisters. They create a plan for the entire family to escape to safety. When they are betrayed, the consequences will have an effect well beyond that place and moment in time.

Jenoff does it again. This story is searing, romantic, powerful, and proof that love truly can overcome hate. I love that the protagonists are young women who are not waiting to be rescued, they do their own figurative rescuing. The book is amazing and I would read it again in a heartbeat.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Winter Guest: A Novel is available wherever books are sold.

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