Gilbreth, Frank B., Jr. Harry Gilroy - Essay

Harry Gilroy

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

One Gilbreth is no funnier than one normally bright person of any parentage, it may be presumed, but when the eleven Gilbreth youngsters and their mother were assembled under one roof they were good for a comic chapter at every turn of family life. The proof is in the reading of ["Belles on Their Toes." This sequel to "Cheaper by the Dozen"] … also proves what a pair of deft story-tellers the two writing members of the Gilbreth eleven are….

This is good light stuff, but there is a hint of something more in the book. When old Tom dies, the authors say:

It could be said that Tom was a man who never amounted to much. By some standards, perhaps, he wasn't even a very good man. He swore a good deal, and in later years he drank more than he should have. But the day he died, twelve people wept for him.

Charles Dickens wrote some haunting books about the kind of little things that occupied the Gilbreths and their Tom.

Harry Gilroy, "Laughs—and by the Dozen," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1950 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), October 15, 1950, p. 22.

[I'm a Lucky Guy is a] solo flight by the oldest son of the Gilbreth family [which] surveys his individual career from his college days through his post-war decisions for a way of life. [It is a] rueful, light-fingered account…. [His] footnotes to the previous Gilbreth family books have the same happy touch and pleasantly cockeyed appreciation of the humor that never seems to vanish from their history.

"Non-Fiction: 'I'm a Lucky Guy'," in Virginia Kirkus' Bookshop Service, Vol. XIX, No. 14, July 15, 1951, p. 373.