Ruth Doan MacDougall

Books you'll read again and again!


Ruth Doan MacDougall


One Minus One

        Ruth’s novel One Minus One has been reprinted as part of Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust Rediscoveries series.
        When it was first published in 1971, New York Times book reviewer Christopher Lehmann-Haupt wrote, “Emily is a 30-year-old divorcee trying to rid her nerve-endings of an ex-husband she still loves and feels part of—trying to negotiate evenings of television and correcting papers without cutting to the next man who comes her way. She succeeds against all odds, which makes One Minus One among the more quietly effective women’s-liberation dramas . . . ”

        And speaking of reviews, they are welcome! If you review books you've enjoyed or have a booklist at, will you consider writing a review of One Minus One or your favorite Ruth Doan MacDougall title? Thanks!

                     (October 12, 2014)  A new Ruth's Neighborhood entry! Playing Tourist

The Snowy Series


A half-century of women's history!

Snowy touches some chord in me. She's as real as anyone I've ever known.
—Jennifer, a fan from Massachusetts

So much has changed!
And so much has stayed the same.

Each title is a complete story in itself, but most fans of the series would suggest beginning with the first volume, The Cheerleader, now in its fifth printing. Click the panel menu bar, above, to learn more about each volume. Titles are listed in order.

The Cheerleader

Meet Snowy and the Gang


In 1998, on the 25th anniversary of the publication of this national best-seller, The Cheerleader was rereleased as a trade paperback. This rereleased version is now in its fifth printing. (see related story).

Searchingly honest, achingly real, The Cheerleader recalls all the joy, excitement, and pain of crossing the bridge from childhood to young womanhood in the Fabulous Fifties, when sex was still a mystery and goals were clearly defined--perhaps for the last time.

The Detroit Free Press said, "One of the truest portraits of an American girl ever written . . . Everything works in MacDougall's book. She captures the times, the attitudes, the emotions with the authority of one who was once there and knows the route back by heart."

The second, third, fourth and fifth printings of this rereleased version include a foreword by Ann V. Norton of St. Anselm College.

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The Cheerleader, by Ruth Doan MacDougall
Putnam (1973)
Frigate Books (2002)


" . . . prepare to laugh out loud and cry in ernest . . . highly recommended "


What happens when ex-cheerleaders grow up?

For Snowy, the cute, blond, ponytailed cheerleader at Gunthwaite High School in the 1950s, did anything ever match the glory of those days?

This is the story that the multitudes of fans of the best-selling The Cheerleader have clamored for, a story that new readers will respond to with equal eagerness. While chronicling Snowy’s next thirty years, it explores the complexities of friendship as it follows the lives of her best friends, beautiful Bev and outspoken Puddles, and her first love, Tom.

What happens when the Silent Generation grows up?

Snowy describes how Snowy and her friends, who came of age in the security of the 1950s when roles were defined and accepted, develop in the next decades, coping with college, marriage, and careers, their experiences unique and universal.

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Snowy, by Ruth Doan MacDougall
St. Martin's (1993)
Frigate Books (2002)
Reprinted with a new Foreword by Ann V. Norton; Saint Anselm College
Headline quote at top of panel: Library Journal

Henrietta Snow

"The Gang" turns fifty . . . and (EEK!) sixty!


"Our generation," Snowy says in   Henrietta Snow, "is 'the disappeared'. We've dropped out of sight between our parents' generation—The Greatest Generation—and the baby boomers. Remember how we were called 'The Silent Generation'? Nobody knows about us."

But you will know!

Here are Snowy and Bev and Puddles, Tom, Dudley, the twins and all the Gang from Gunthwaite High School, in the next stage of their lives. How do they adjust to limitations, deal with grief, and face the realization that this is their last chance at love, success, and happiness? How do they face death?

With humor, for one thing. Like The Cheerleader and Snowy, Henrietta Snow is funny, honest, and indelible.

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Henrietta Snow, by Ruth Doan MacDougall
Frigate Books (2002)
Foreword by Ann V. Norton; Saint Anselm College


The Husband Bench

It's Bev's turn!


Bev was tall, with short thick auburn hair. She looked older, more finished, than the other girls in their class. And she was green-eyed and beautiful, but she loved to make faces.

That was Bev Colby at age fifteen in The Cheerleader. Now, at sixty, her hair is white but she has remained a beauty and she still loves to make faces.

The co-captain of the basketball team, Roger was tall and coolly jaunty, a senior and so suave.

That was Roger Lambert, Bev’s boyfriend. After college Bev married Roger, they had four children and a comfortable life, but his problems with Bev’s desire for her own career in real estate resulted in a separation.

At the conclusion of Henrietta Snow, the third novel in The Snowy Series, Bev and Roger have decided to give their marriage another chance and to renew their vows.

What happens next?” the readers always ask.

After the euphoria of the decision to get back together, Bev tries to face the reality of this prospect, while also trying to deal with her career and, even more important, a surprise with tremendous impact.

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The Husband Bench, or Bev's Book by Ruth Doan MacDougall
Frigate Books (2007)
Foreword by Ann V. Norton; Saint Anselm College

A Born Maniac

Full title: A Born Maniac, or Puddles's Progress


Ruth Doan MacDougall writes, "Puddles has been on the back burner for so long, but she's clamoring for her turn. And, at long last, the fans who have been asking, (again!)  'What happens next?' will get at least part of the story."

Readers of earlier books in The Snowy Series may recall that originally Puddles came from Maine. Her family moved to Gunthwaite during her early teen years. Over the years Puddles has lived in several places, but her origins as "a born Maniac" haven't been forgotten. 

What surprises are in store for readers as Puddles's life takes center stage?

In response to several queries from readers, Ruth shares some of ther thoughts about crafting Puddles's story. You'll find it here, in the Essays section.

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A Born Maniac, or Puddles's Progress, by Ruth Doan MacDougall
Frigate Books (2011)
Foreword by Ann V. Norton; Saint Anselm College

Available again!

In soft-cover, E-book (Kindle), and Audiobook

One Minus One is a Book Lust Rediscoveries selection in a series produced by noted author and librarian Nancy Pearl, in cooperation with


Use the scrollbar at right to advance the text; on a mobile device you may finger-scroll. Alternatively, the entire article in traditional format is here.

by Ruth Doan MacDougall


January 23, 2013


Out of the blue.


In May 2011, Marney (who is, as most of you know, the creator of this site and master of it) joyfully forwarded me an e-mail that had come to the site. It was from Nancy Pearl, the librarian, NPR commentator, and author of the Book Lust books about books. Nancy explained that she was planning a Book Lust Rediscoveries series of reprints of her favorite books and would love to include two of my early novels, One Minus One and The Cost of Living.


Joy, indeed!


The project progressed, and thus last fall I found myself working on the copyedited manuscript and then the proofs of the first of the two novels to be reprinted, One Minus One. The emotions this caused went zooming around in all directions.


I remembered how the idea for the book came to me. In 1969 Don and I were living in Dover, New Hampshire. He was the librarian at the high school in nearby Somersworth and getting his master’s degree at the University of New Hampshire, also nearby, in Durham. Our acquaintances were almost all teachers. At one of the teachers’ parties I met a recently divorced young woman, who was from away and had moved here to start a new life. There weren’t that many divorces back then, and she was, I think, the first divorced woman I’d met who was my age, thirty. I myself was, of course, very much married. Just trying to imagine how I would survive a divorce from Don was so excruciating that it’s a wonder I decided to explore it in a book, but I did.


I named the heroine Emily Bean, having her return to her maiden name after the divorce, using a surname from my mother’s side of the family. My working title for the book was Amputation. Later, when Harvey Ginsberg, my Putnam’s editor, said that this title was too gruesome, he and Don and I searched for other titles and in desperation almost settled on Emily Bean—and then Don, who has named so many of my books, came up with the right one.


Other emotions evoked by the reprint were about place and equipment. In Dover Don and I lived in an upstairs apartment in a big yellow Victorian house (that bears a strange resemblance to an apartment in The Cost of Living). I wrote at the kitchen table, on a little Olivetti typewriter that was so light I had to chase it around the tabletop if I got typing madly. I can clearly remember working there, particularly on one scene; it flowed, and instead of my usual four pages a day I did eight, which was a record. Now here I was in our house in Sandwich, in my garret office that contains three desks: the veneer desk like Snowy’s that I’ve had since my youth, and the big Steelcase desk we bought after One Minus One was published, with nowadays my computer desk at right angles to it where once a typing table stood. As I worked on the reprint of One Minus One, scrolling down the screen, I remembered working on the first proofs on paper with a pencil.


And I thought of the book’s 1971 publication in hardback, with a broken wedding-cake bride and groom on the white-and-pink 1970s-style cover. The following year it was published as a mass-market paperback, with a young woman on the cover flourishing a mane of hair, whereas in the book Emily’s hair is very short. The new One Minus One is not only a trade paperback, with an intriguing twenty-first-century cover, but it’s also an e-book and an audiobook, undreamt-of in 1971 (at least by me).


Other emotions, memories: in the book, there are excerpts from diaries, fictionalized versions of my grandmother Ruth’s diaries and my high-school diaries. It was the latter that got Harvey thinking about my next book. As I was finishing up One Minus One he invited us to New York. There, in his apartment before going out to dinner, we were making general conversation when he asked what I had in mind for my next book. I replied that I’d been too consumed by Emily’s plight to think ahead. Then, as I’ve described before, he made a suggestion. He said, “Why don’t you write a novel about high school in the nineteen-fifties?"


Without One Minus One, there wouldn’t be The Cheerleader and The Snowy Series.


I am extremely grateful to Nancy Pearl for making it available again—and for making me think about what my life was like when I wrote the book and about my life afterward. In her wonderful introduction she asks, “And really, in the end, who’s to say which offers the best guide to how to live your life, your heart or your head?” Now from this vantage point, I certainly can see how I lived mine.

Ruth's Neighborhood

(Ruth's Blog; updated October 12  2014)

NeighborhoodAs her time permits, Ruth Doan MacDougall writes essays about life in and around her neighborhood. Topics vary, but something interesting is always going on in Ruth's Neighborhood!
Current Essay
: "Playing Tourist"

One Minus One

Autographed Copies Available

        If you would like to order an autographed or inscribed copy of One Minus One, please contact Michelle Taft at Bayswater Book Company in Center Harbor, NH, Phone: (603) 253-8858. Michelle will notify Ruth, who will stop by Bayswater to sign your copy so it can be mailed to you. Bayswater offers free shipping as well!



Hiking Books

Hiking Titles
50 Hikes in the White Mountains,
7th edition, published June 2013
50 More Hikes in New Hampshire

Details & Purchase Information

• Related: "Why Climb a Mountain?"

• July 12: Book Signing: 6th edition of 50 More Hikes in New Hampshire; in Center Harbor NH; DETAILS

ISRIndian Stream Republic: Settling a New Frontier, 1785-1842
 by Daniel Doan, edited by
Ruth Doan MacDougall
Details & Purchase Information

More E-book Fiction

A Woman Who Loved Lindbergh

This book, published in 2001, is available from Frigate Books only as a downloadable e-book (PDF); it can be read on any device that supports a PDF Reader (such as Adobe Reader), including computers, iPad, tablets, etc. A special book-reader application is not necessary.
Learn More
Purchasing Information

Penny's Cats

In the March 2013 edition of Ruth's Neighborhood Ruth shared anecdotes about her sister Penny's love of animals and the book she's written about her cat, Phoenix. Penny's book is available at

RV Cat

A Correspondence with Elisabeth

From 1992 to 1999 Ruth corresponded with another New England author, Elisabeth Olgivie. You'll enjoy reading about the "shop talk" they shared!

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