J. Fitzgerald (was Re: OT Childhood favorites)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Sat Feb 8 17:56:12 EST 2003

On Sat, 8 Feb 2003 16:46:42 -0500 (EST), Laurie Puszczewicz wrote:

>--the Great Brain books by John D. Fitzgerald. These were supposedly based
>pretty heavily on his life.  I recently read his autobiographical book
>called _Papa Married a Mormon_.  It had some interesting scenes about the
>tensions between Mormons and non-Mormons in Utah back --I'm not sure how
>long ago it was.

He wrote the books in the 1970s, but they were set right around the 1900s.
_Papa Married a Mormon_ takes events back further, to the settling of
Southern Utah in the 1870s (I think).  But even that one is not entirely
autobiographical, we discovered.  The towns he mentions never existed and
neither did most of the people; they were based on real historical figures
and places but changed to protect hurt feelings.  We were reading the Great
Brain series to the kids a while back, and wanted to trek down to see some
of the places Fitzgerald mentions...not possible.

We did learn that the Great Brain did actually settle down in Price, Utah,
and lived there the rest of his life.  And most of the canyons are real.
Still, it was a bit disappointing to learn that the autobiography wasn't
entirely factual.  His portrayal of the conflict between Mormon settlers and
"Gentiles" is very sympathetic to both sides, very well done, and now I get
a twinge wondering what he made up.

Melissa Proffitt

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