J. Fitzgerald (was Re: OT Childhood favorites)

M Elizabeth Parks meparks at mtholyoke.edu
Sat Feb 8 21:21:40 EST 2003

The thing I remember most about the Great Brain series was the story about
the young boy who died of diabetes; it's amazing how strongly I remember
this relatively small element of those books.

I think that there are a lot of books that I read repeatedly when I was
younger that I wouldn't have the tolerance or the patience to read
now--especially books in older styles.  At this point far too much of my
reading is either for class or for no point at all, and I have trouble
trying to read class-style books (like Madame Bovary) for fun, despite how
much I enjoy them when I finally read them (like Bronte's _Shirley_, which
I just read and loved soo much more than I thought I possibly could).

Which brings me to one of my favorite childhood authors: Louisa May
Alcott.  I was looking at her books in the library the other day, and
remembering how very many times I had read _An Old Fashioned Girl_ and
_Eight Cousins_.  I loved these books, and I think I can still see the
effect that they had on me.

Another favorite I came across was Margaret Sidney's _Five Little Peppers_
series.  The library I was in the other day happened to have what I think
was the last book in the series, called something along the lines of _Five
Little Peppers Grown Up._  I sat down and read it; at the end, Polly and
Jasper got married, of course ;), and it was still moving to me.

and then of course there's _Daddy Long Legs_, which I think was the reason
I wanted to go to a woman's college. . ..



On Sat, 8 Feb 2003, Melissa Proffitt wrote:

> Date: Sat, 08 Feb 2003 15:56:12 -0700
> From: Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at Proffitt.com>
> Reply-To: dwj at suberic.net
> To: dwj at suberic.net
> Subject: J. Fitzgerald (was Re: OT Childhood favorites)
> 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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