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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Papa Married a Mormon...Review

About the book:
Born in Price, Utah, in 1907 to a Scandinavian Mormon mother and an Irish Catholic father, John D. Fitzgerald grew up influenced by both cultures. He left Utah behind at age eighteen, working at such varied jobs as playing in a jazz band, working in a bank, and serving as an overseas newspaper correspondent. At the time of his first break into the national literary scene, he was a purchaser for a steel company in California. Fitzgerald began writing Papa Married a Mormon, a family history about his boyhood, to fulfill a promise made to his mother on her death-bed. She implored him to tell the story of those who settled the west. Not so much a story of the Mormons, but of the people themselves – specifically Fitzgerald’s family and members of the Mormon/Gentile community in which they lived.

Set in the fictional southern Utah community of Adenville, Fitzgerald creates a nostalgic picture of small town life in early 1900s. The story tells of the conflicts between the Mormons and gentiles within the community, and how leaders on both sides managed to unify the town, despite their differences and animosities. Because many parts of the book are similar in prose to Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn novels,
Papa Married a Mormon fits the mold of a Victorian look at an era long gone. 


My grandmother had this book on her bookshelf and I found it as a teenager. I loved it. It immediately became on of my favorite books, ever, and I was thrilled when she gave it to me. Written by John D. Fitzgerald (of Great Brain fame), it's a somewhat fictionalized family history of his family life growing up in rural Utah.

His mother was Mormon and his father Catholic. Neither one ever converted to the others' faith. He tells the story of their courtship and how he and his siblings were raised. The book is full of humorous tales of childhood adventure, tumultuous relationships and love and forgiveness. There are stories of conflicts between the Mormons and others, but there is also an underlying thread of how to resolve differences and get along.

A terrific read.

I read my personal copy that was given to me by my grandmother years ago, but you can purchase your own copy here.

Last read?

* * * * *
5/5 Stars

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