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Shame the Devil

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  56 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
There may be married people who do not read the morning paper. Smith and I know them not It is not too much to say the newspapers are one of our strongest points of sympathy; that it is our meat and drink to praise and abuse them together; that we often in our imagination edit a model newspaper, which shall have for its motto, Speak the truth, and shame the devil. Fanny Fe ...more
340 pages
Published July 1st 2011 by Excelsior Editions (first published June 15th 2011)
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Elizabeth Rose
Mar 18, 2015 Elizabeth Rose rated it liked it
This was put on a 'St. Patrick's Day reads' display in my library, probably only because the cover was green, so that was my first dissapointment.
I enjoyed learning more about Fanny Fern, who seems to have been a spectacular woman. However, the way this was written feels a lot more like a collection of name-dropped stories. This might have been true to Fanny's life, but it didn't feel entirely organic the way it was written. The biggest thing I took issue with in 'Shame the Devil', however, is h
Rochelle Melander
Dec 14, 2011 Rochelle Melander rated it it was amazing
Shame the Devil is a great read for anyone though writers will find it especially inspiring. Though Fanny Fern (1811-1872) achieved literary success, it did not happen overnight. It took a great amount of grit for Fanny Fern to overcome the death of a husband, abuse from another, poverty, and dozens of other challenges to become the Oprah of her day. In her wonderful debut novel Shame the Devil, author Debra Brenegan has taken the details from the life of the historical Fanny Fern and given us a ...more
Lynn Sneyd
Dec 01, 2011 Lynn Sneyd rated it it was amazing
Shame the Devil is literary historical fiction written by an amazing writer about an amazing writer. Fanny Fern lived in the 19th century and counted such influential people as Walt Whitman, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Nathaniel Hawthorne as her friends and writing peers (though she was actually a mentor to Whitman). Unfortunately, Fern does not share the postmortem fame of her friends, even though she was the Anna Quindlan - even the Oprah - of her time. Debra Brenegan does a remarkable job of po ...more
Feb 16, 2016 Mirella rated it it was amazing
Shame the Devil is based upon the remarkable and true story of 19th century novelist, journalist, and feminist, Fanny Fern, also known as Sara Payson Willis (1811 13 1872). She was born in Portland Maine. Her father, Nathaniel Willis, owned a newspaper. Early on, she chose the pen name of Fanny Fern because it reminded her of her mother as she picked ferns.

She attended a boarding school in Hartford Connecticut where she was dubbed as one of te worst behaved but most beloved girls. In 1837 she m
Dec 25, 2011 Arleigh rated it it was amazing
Fanny Fern, 19th Century American literary wit and prolific author, spoke out against inequality through her novels, weekly columns and collections. Though not quite a household name, she was one of the first women to demand a pre-nuptial agreement, started the idea that lead to copyright, and sarcastically coined the phrase, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

Born Sarah Willis, Fanny was a spirited child and grew into a sparkling and sassy young woman. Her strict father despaired
Oct 05, 2011 Heavensent1 rated it it was amazing
Shame The Devil: A Novel is an historical fictional account of columnist Fanny Fern.

Sarah Payson Willis is the fifth child of nine, she is flamboyant, pert, sassy and nothing women are supposed to be like in the early 1800's. Her father, Nathanial Willis, was disgusted with his daughter's behaviour and often has the minister pray over her. Her mother, Hannah Parker, is thrilled with her head-strong daughter and often encourages Sarah to be the free spirit she is meant to.

Sarah doesn't believe an
Jenny Yates
Sep 29, 2013 Jenny Yates rated it liked it
How come I never heard of Fanny Fern before reading this book? It just goes to show how many remarkable women have been forgotten.

This is the fascinating story of Sarah Payson Willis, the 19th century writer whose nom de plume was Fanny Fern. She was famous in her day, celebrated as much as her contemporaries – Dickens, Whitman, Emerson, Thoreau. But she was also reviled as an unnatural woman for leaving her second husband, making her living by her pen, and being outspoken and frank in all her w
Amy L. Campbell
Sep 23, 2011 Amy L. Campbell rated it really liked it
Shelves: blogged, reviewed, 2011
Note: Review copy received from publicist.

This is one of the better novelizations of a factual person's life I've read. There seems to be a tendency to be a little too in awe of the subject to create a well-rounded story. Luckily, Brenegan avoids this by writing from several different viewpoints. Just when you get tired of the almost fawning tone, we get to see Fanny Fern from the viewpoint of her in-laws or some other less favorable account.

The story itself is captivating, particularly for thos
What a rare and exceptional treasure it is to have a biographical, feminist novel these days. This beautifully covered book is so well researched and written that it behooves one to tread carefully when assuming it can be reviewed with justice.

Debra Brenegan leads us back to a time when women tripped what appeared to be the broad line of sensibility, as Miss Austen would say, only if they dared. A time when women kept their own kind in check, when men expected the females in their lives to be c
Jun 02, 2014 Bill rated it really liked it
A rare gem of historical fiction--not only reflecting the Fannie's struggles in a male-oriented, neanderthal by any standards culture, but also in reflecting interesting personality traits of her Fannie's male and female contemporaties. I will never think of Charles Dickens and Walt Whitman in the same way again.
Dec 08, 2011 Kay rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book and really liked the character of Fannie Fern. The book is historical fiction but the author made Fannie fern come to life. I liked the way the beginning of each chapter had an article or a piece of an article actually written by Fannie Fern. I enjoyed the determination of Fannie Fern to make a living to support her family during a time when it was only acceptable for a man to have a successful career. Divorce was frowned upon and women were at the mercy of thier father or hu ...more
May 14, 2014 Debra rated it liked it
Interesting historical novel about the life of a woman I didn't know existed. It made me read more about her.
Apr 03, 2012 Linn rated it liked it
I didn't know anything about 19th century writer Fanny Fern (although my American Studies experts knew her right away). This novelization of her life made me want to read a biography. Each section of narration starts with an excerpt from her writing. The tone of the narration didn't seem to match the sharp sarcasm of Fanny Fern's actual writing, which was a little jarring to me.
Jul 22, 2012 Lynne rated it liked it
This novel is based on the real life of writer "Fanny Fern." I wish I had first read a biography of her because I kept wanting more information, rather than the depiction of her daily struggles. In the end it is amazing what she was able to accomplish in her career, and it makes me again grateful for such trailblazing women.
Sep 23, 2011 Marti rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was very well written. Historical fiction is my favorite book genre; it was fun to read about an incredible and influential woman, especially when I hadn't heard of her before. Now I will never be able to see the name Walt Whitman without thinking about Fanny Fern.
Apr 09, 2013 Pat rated it really liked it
Very interesting book about mid-19th century writer/feminist. An amazing woman who had incredible courage to free herself of society's harsh treatment of women. The story dragged sometimes, but overall an interesting read.
Julie Gellendin
Jan 28, 2012 Julie Gellendin rated it really liked it
Incredible journey of a woman as she goes through drastic measures to save her daughters and herself from a life of hell. An interesting read through time, with many pun intended.
Mar 06, 2012 Tara marked it as to-read
omg i got one in the giveaway & it came today!! (2-4-12). i'm sooooo excited & i can't wait to get started!! 2 books in the mail in a day is sooooo awesome!!!
Andrea Larson
Sep 12, 2012 Andrea Larson rated it really liked it
A great read! It's about Fanny Fern, nineteenth-century "Oprah" to her fans and a progressive, independent woman who was well ahead of her time.
Callee Jaeger
May 15, 2012 Callee Jaeger rated it really liked it
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Debra Brenegan grew up in the Milwaukee area and graduated with a B.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She worked as a journalist and taught at Milwaukee Area Technical College before beginning her graduate work. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in English/Creative Writing from The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she also taught. She teaches English and Women’s Stud ...more
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