Shame the Devil
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Shame the Devil

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4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  46 ratings  ·  19 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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Rochelle Melander
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
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
Arleigh
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...more
Heavensent1
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...more
Jenny
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...more
Amy L. Campbell
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...more
Deborah
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...more
Bill
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.
Kay
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
Debra
Interesting historical novel about the life of a woman I didn't know existed. It made me read more about her.
Linn
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.
Lynne
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.
Marti
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.
Pat
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
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.
Tara
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
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.
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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
More about Debra Brenegan...
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