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Fanny Herself

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  179 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Early twentieth-century novel by Edna Ferber, the American, novelist, author and playwright whose novels generally featured a strong female as the protagonist, although she fleshed out multiple characters in each book. She usually highlighted at least one strong secondary character who faced discrimination ethnically or for other reasons; through this technique, Ferber dem ...more
Paperback, 276 pages
Published May 18th 2007 by Dodo Press (first published 1917)
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Thom Swennes
“To thine own self be true” a quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet can best describe the gist of this book. Fanny Herself by Edna Ferber (1887-1968) is a surprisingly engrossing and interesting narrative about a young Jewish girl growing up in a small Wisconsin town. The story was first published in 1917 and covers about ten years in the life of Fanny Brandeis. After her father dies, her mother struggles to make a living and a life in a local retail store. She sees her son’s potential to be violin vi ...more
May 21, 2009 Melissa rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: novel-reading, business-majoring females
Shelves: 2009
Vague Spoilers

Gosh, I don’t like to give 1 star but 1 star does mean “didn't like it” and I didn't like this book.

Fanny Herself tells the story of Fanny Brandeis, a young Jewish woman living in the early 20th century. As a girl, Fanny watches her mother run a local business in her small Wisconsin hometown. As a woman, Fanny moves to Chicago and becomes a businesswoman. And not just any business woman - she is the business world’s version of Superwoman! Everything she does at work is perfect,
One of the Great Novels of American Business

Edna Ferber's classic novel "Fanny Herself" is many things. It is a "semi-autobiographical" novel about a young girl growing up in Appleton Wisconsin in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century. It is loosely based on episodes from her own life, and other family members. Her older sister was named Fannie, and was the author of a famous cookbook titled "Fannie Fox's Cookbook". In her autobiography "A Peculiar Treasure" Ferber even quotes several
Had this been my first Edna Ferber, I likely wouldn't have read another. I certainly would not recommend listening to the audio. Narrator is not skilled in creating characters; perhaps a straight reading would have been better. Interesting story reminiscent of 19th century novels with the author commenting on the action and characters. Intriguing look at women in business at the turn of the 20th century.
Aug 05, 2011 Karen added it
The advice to all writers is usually "write what you know." So I was surprised that Ferber's most autobiographical novel wasn't my favorite of hers. Some elements work beautifully. Her stories of growing up Jewish in a small town are wonderful; the character of her mother - a strong woman making the best of a difficult life - was memorable; and Fanny's ability to create an impressive career in a man's world was very ahead of its time. What kept the book from becoming one of my favorites was the ...more
Unique, charming story of a Jewish girl growing up in Wisconsin and then making her way in the world. Interesting views of the workings of a mail order house very similar to Sears and Roebuck. Good salt-of-the-earth characters.
Books of the Century challenge. Loveddd this book. I have to read more Edna Ferber. I think this was published in 1917.
I loved the story of Fanny and her mom Molly. I loved Fanny's transition to adulthood. Ferber's writing is crisp and fun. The omnipresent narrator that talks directly to the reader is a nice touch -- not often done. And yet -- I wanted something more. The end was lacking. The narrator promised and didn't deliver the remainder of the story of Fanny. For a book I was in which I was thoroughly engrossed (to the point of nearly missing my stop on the Metro), I can't help but be disappointed.
Tonya Collins
Loved this book up until the final three chapters. It seemed like the author got board with the story, or the main characters. Throughout the book, the author was whitty and carefully descriptive of characters and situations that painted a really interesting picute of life and personality of Fanny Brandeis, an independant and business savvy young jewish woman living in Chicago in the early 1900s.

The end was just abrupt and predictable. Very different from the rest of the book.
It's hard to rate this one. It's an early feminist novel in which the main character is also one of the few Jewish people in her small town in Wisconsin. It is certainly a novel of it's time - 1917. The main character, Fanny, has a very successful business career, but a difficult personal life. It's not the best novel ever, but it is interesting subject matter and does a good job with the main character.
My first Edna Ferber book and I really enjoyed it. Her characters are so well-drawn and amazingly modern (written in 1917). Fanny Brandeis is a Jewish girl from a small town in Wisconsin with big dreams - semi-autobiographical as I understand it. Fun witty writing. I'll be checking out more from the Pulitzer Prize winning Ferber.
Catherine Stirling
I love Edna Ferber's work because she offers such a detailed look at her characters, and also succeeds in capturing a moment in time, place and history. The ending took quite a leap, for me (although the romantic in me secretly loved it) but overall I really enjoyed the book. Also read So Big...probably her best.
This is the first Ferber book I've read. I think I've missed something good, perhaps! Almost 100 years old, this book, but surprisingly modern in parts. Of course, there's a lot of silly philosophy that we would now laugh at or be terribly insulted by, but all in all, impressive.
Carrie Lynn Barker
Though this may not be one of Edna's famous novels, it really impressed me. Fanny is a great character, a strong female like all the rest of Edna Ferber's women, but on a deeper level, it seems. Very much enjoyed Fanny Herself.
Rose West
Jun 07, 2009 Rose West rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Not Edna Ferber's best effort, but still original and enjoyable. I love her settings. This book goes from Wisconsin small town to Chicago to the dunes on Lake Michigan to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
Heather Clitheroe
One of Ferber's better novels, I think - the story of the life of Fanny Brandeis. It's a longer story, following Fanny as a child and to her adult years. I quite enjoyed's a lovely, comfortable book.
Interesting plot -- young Jewish woman raised in a small midwestern town by a bad-ass widowed mom -- and an evocative picture of early 20th-century America. Very entertaining feminist novel.
Phil Chenevert
LibriVox download a very enjoyable book read delightfully by J. M. Smallheer. I'm going to listen to more Ferber for sure. In fact I have decided to record 3 of her books on LibriVox.
Bcoghill Coghill
Very much fun to read this novel from the early part of the last century.
Was this Edna Ferber's first novel? It may have been.
If so, she started out strong.
Loved this book. Edna Ferber was way ahead of her time in thinking. Delightful characters and a fun look at life a century ago.
The book had an interesting story line. I hated the ending. Other then that, it was good.
It was this that made me break down and just accept that I love Edna Ferber.
I love all Edna Ferber. I fall in love with all her characters...
I didn't expect to enjoy this book from the 1920s, but I did.
Delightful book as are all of Edna Ferber books.
Thoroughly enjoyed this.
Nora Kimsey
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May 12, 2015
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Apr 19, 2015
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Edna Ferber was an American novelist, short story writer and playwright. Her novels were popular in her lifetime and included the Pulitzer Prize-winning So Big (1924), Show Boat (1926; made into the celebrated 1927 musical), Cimarron (1929; made into the 1931 film which won the Academy Award for Best Picture), and Giant (1952; made into the 1956 Hollywood movie).
More about Edna Ferber...
So Big Giant Show Boat Saratoga Trunk Cimarron

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