I remember when Erma Bombeck's The Grass Is Always Greener over the Septic Tank (1976) came out. Everyone was talking about and sharing copies of the book. It was probably the first non-scifi work that got my attention. When her next work If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits? came out, we all had to read it as well.

I know she had a column and a couple of books that where published prior to The Grass … but I don't recall them getting the wider audience that followed The Grass …

Did The Grass Is Always Greener over the Septic Tank promote her to name to general recognition? If so what was her following prior to that?


1 Answer 1


Erma Bombeck began writing for a local paper in 1964. Her editor sent some samples of her column, "At Wit´s End", to the Newsday newspaper syndicate and..

Three weeks after her first column appeared in the Dayton Journal-Herald, Erma signed a short-term contract with Newsday.

Her popularity grew quite rapidly and by the end of 1965,

Thirty-eight papers were buying her 400-500 word columns by the end of the first year. Five years later "At Wit's End" was a staple in 500.

In 1967 she published a compilation of her columns, called by the same name, "At Wit´s End".

In 1969, she was asked to provide a monthly column -- "Up the Wall" -- for Good Housekeeping magazine, a service she continued for six years. Periodically she wrote for other magazines, including Reader's Digest, Family Circle, Redbook, McCall's and even Teen.

I still remember some of her household hints such as:

"to see if the spaghetti is cooked, throw some at the wall over the stove; if it sticks, it is done. If it isn´t, it will fall down behind where no one will ever see it anyway."

By the beginning of the 1970s, she was widely quoted and admired, and remains an inspiration to many aspiring writers.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.