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Maggie Now

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  1,173 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
Betty Smith, the beloved author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, weaves a riveting modern myth out of the experiences of her own life in this rediscovered classic. In Brooklyn's unforgiving urban jungle, Maggie Moore is torn between answering her own needs and catering to the desirous men who dominate her life. Confronted by her quarrelsome Irish immigrant father, the feckless ...more
Published by Queens House (first published January 1st 1950)
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Feb 20, 2008 Lucy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers of A tree Grows in Brooklyn
Shelves: readawhileago
A recent review of, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by one of my goodreads friends sent me to recalling all the Betty Smith books that I loved over the years. a tree is probably her most famous, having been made into movies and since it is so young adult friendly. But Maggie Now was my favorite because of it's moody mysterious romance between a proper Irish woman and a "man with a past". Maggie's husband leaves her every year to search for some missing key to his life and his impetus is a breeze.
A com
Jun 05, 2012 Peyton rated it really liked it
This was a great vacation read. I am a HUGE Betty Smith fan; A Tree Grows In Brooklyn is probably my favorite book and this does not disappoint. That being said, this book is very similar in setting and tone...almost too similar. I enjoyed it and once I finished it, found myself feeling as I do with any book I love: a little lost and curious as to what I should do with my time. Always a sign of a good read!
Apr 24, 2011 Anne rated it really liked it
This was a lovely book. It centered, as usual, around a strong, intelligent female protagonist, but it was definitely a little different from the other Betty Smith books (of which, by the way, I can't help wishing there were many more!). Maggie-Now reminds me of how Katie Nolan might have been if she had had more money and if she hadn't gotten married. She takes care of everyone--her father, Patsy (who is just an appalling creature, really), her brother, Denny (who becomes a butcher because he t ...more
Jill Hanley
I wouldn't recommend this as anyone's gateway Betty Smith (start with A Tree Grows in Brooklyn!), but Maggie-Now has got the heart, the humor, and the more-than-competent and never-maudlin depiction of sacrifice and struggle of her other novels. Her characters are like your most wickedly funny and flawed best friends, who you maybe want to shake and scream at sometimes but who you also want to invite over for tea/hard liquor and just listen to them talk. A warning: your Depress-O-Meter will go o ...more
Jun 29, 2016 MaryAnn rated it really liked it
Sometimes people will ask 'What books influenced you the most growing up?' I wouldn't recall this book as an answer but as I reread it; I could see many, many influences. As a young adult I thought it was mostly a romance. But this time around, I recognized the seeds of many of my own values from its emphasis and importance of a house that is clean, scrubbed and polished. Also the many skills and responsibilities of women who kept house. Sewing, remaking clothes as well as household items, shopp ...more
Nov 17, 2009 Michelle rated it liked it
Shelves: american
It is hard to love a novel when you couldn't care less about the protagonist. And in this novel's protagonist, there just isn't a whole lot there - Maggie-Now is the proverbial doormat, and knowing she enjoys being the doormat doesn't really make her any more compelling. She puts up with a husband who won't tell her who he is, where he came from, where he works, or where he goes when he disappears for 3/4's of the year, and we're supposed to believe that the freshness of the sex when he returns ...more
Steph Su
Dec 01, 2012 Steph Su rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
Smith's book A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is basically flawless, but this one didn't do it for me at all. It's completely different, to be sure: I think that Smith deliberately makes all the characters in MAGGIE-NOW unsympathetic, which is more like reality than we'd like to admit. However, it's literature, dudes, and self-involved human reader that I am, I'm not going to spend several hours of my life on people who are never happy, won't ever be happy, and don't deserve to be happy, not on account ...more
Oct 10, 2008 Aimee rated it liked it
This book was so....strange. Let me first say that I love Betty Smith. Her books tug at my heart without making me cry, they are brutal and honest yet beautiful and true.

I don't think Betty Smith quite knew what this book was about, and as a result it lacks cohesion. Maybe it is because Maggie herself is, well, not boring exactly, it's just that you realize that there is not a lot of depth to her. She admits this about herself, and that's great, self-knowledge is a good thing, but it doesn't ma
Jul 24, 2010 LemonLinda rated it it was amazing
This was a typical Betty Smith novel in that the characters are of Irish heritage, live in Brooklyn and are the working poor, but are filled with pride for their religion, their heritage and their families are closely tied together.

This one did not totally engage me in the beginning but as it turned out that part of the book was merely a precursor for the title character. Once she emerged well into the book it changed for me and while at times I wanted to give her a strong wake up call and screa
Feb 09, 2009 Emily rated it really liked it
Betty Smith is my favorite author, and this book gave me a lot to think about. I thought it was very interesting how Maggie and Patsy had some of the same characteristics, but made opposite choices when it came to the big stuff.

I love how Betty Smith recreates the world as she knew it as a child (even though the characters are created). I feel like I learn a lot about the time period and the areas when I read her books. Little details make the picture so clear, without ever being excessive.
Jan 01, 2010 Briana rated it really liked it
This is a lesser-known novel by the author of A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. Maggie (nicknamed "Maggie-Now" as a child - that's what her mother was always saying to her) is an utterly provincial working-class girl of Irish descent at the turn of the twentieth century who marries a free spirit. She never leaves Brooklyn, but their unconventional marriage takes her outside herself - for the better.
Jul 06, 2009 Phyllis added it
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Phyllis by: no one
I was 13 when I first read this book. I found it in a box in a old farmhouse we lived in and since I was/am an insatiable reader I picked it up. This was in 1970 and I have never forgot the book it was and still is one of my favorite books. It is just so sad that she gave and gave emotionally and still lost everything she loved.
Chelsea Heath
May 10, 2010 Chelsea Heath rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: favorites
LOVED this book. Betty Smith is now one of my favorite authors. As I've said before, I only wish that she would have written more books. I have one more to read, Tomorrow Will Be Better. Maggie-Now follows Patrick Denny and then his daughter, Maggie and son, Denny. It is such a lovely, touching, and endearing story about family and love and loss. I enjoyed it SO much.
Jan 26, 2011 Me rated it it was amazing
I liked this book almost as much as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I first read this as a pre-teen, then later re-read it a few years ago. I then dove into whatever information I could find on Betty Smith. Sure enough, her own life and romances were similar to those of Maggie Now. Betty Smith had a tendency to have romances with men that had either had drinking problems and/or were unreliable.
This is one of my two favorite books of all time. And Patrick Dennis Moore is one of my favorite characters ever! I can't even explain why I love this book so much, but I have read it so many times, and I get something different out of it in each phase of my life. Betty Smith is such a great writer. I am so grateful for this and her other novels.
Apr 24, 2016 Tiffany rated it it was ok
I really tried to like this book.
Dec 28, 2014 Carlie rated it liked it
I started reading this book probably two years ago, maybe longer and I quit halfway through because I found the story boring. It did not measure up to A Tree Grows In Brooklyn probably because Maggie-Now is is all fiction. The story, for me, didn't get interesting until after where I quit reading. Maggie-Now is a generational story starting with Maggie's father Patrick Dempsey Moore. Patrick Moore is a lazy, pain-in-the-butt, Irish immigrant. He left Ireland because he refused to marry Maggie-Ro ...more
Lisa Gallagher
I read this book not long after reading "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" when I was nine or ten years old. Certainly less well-known that ATGIB and perhaps not as grand, "Maggie-Now" is still a remarkable read filled with unforgettable characters.

A feisty Irish immigrant is forced to move to Brooklyn, New York where he finds work as a livery boy for a wealthy man. He falls in the love with the plain and charitable daughter of his employer, they marry and have two children.

At the heart of the story is
Aug 24, 2014 Rori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't love the characters in Maggie-Now nearly as much as those in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn or Joy in the Morning. I felt that the nuances of her characters in those books made them understandable even if they were not always loveable. The characters in Maggie-Now were much less likeable. Maggie-Now herself was a simple sort of person who almost seemed to relish in allowing herself to be let down time and time again. I found myself struggling to understand why she allowed herself to remain st ...more
3.5 Stars.

I didn't expect to love this book on the same level as I adore "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" or "Joy in the Morning" (and I was right, I didn't) but I definitely didn't hate it, either. Betty Smith has the special gift of making you care immensely for her characters and what will happen to them. She also gives an incredibly detailed picture of living in Brooklyn during the turn of the century. From popular songs of the day to food prices to details of period clothing and rapidly changing
Oct 18, 2013 Abby rated it really liked it
I have read many mixed reviews on this book. Let me begin by saying that A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of if not my favorite book. While Maggie Now is still a coming of age novel about a girl in Brooklyn I believe most modern women don't relate with Maggie's character. However, I do believe this is still an important book. I love that Betty Smith is able to write such different and complex characters in her books, and I believe Maggie possessed a different kind of strength when taking into acc ...more
Dec 30, 2009 Betty rated it liked it
Febuary 1st 2010
As I am nearing the end of this book, I try to think of how I was affected by it. But even though I am nearing the ens, Istill can not mske my opinion.

Febuary 3 2010
Yesterday, right before my sleepy self took over my awakened one, I finished reading this book and also won the battle of the many days I had spent reading it. I still cannot decide whether I liked this book or not, I find so much faults in but I can not get over the fact that this was Betty Smith..the author of A Tre
Apr 13, 2014 Anna rated it really liked it
A detailed and complex story of a young woman's life and family in Brooklyn around WWI. I loved the community and family feel that Smith created. Especially a nice American complement to the Mr Selfridge perspective over in England.

I loved the thoughts of the characters in italics, especially the dad, Pat(sy), cause he NEVER thinks the way you would think a person would think. (While he's fighting with everything he's thinking "wow, this girl is tough, so glad she turned out this way.") I loved
This book has a certain charm to it, but it left me wanting more for Maggie. I felt sorry for her through out most of the book. It is a reminder that some people just don't get what they wished so much for in life, though, like love and a family in this case. I wished she had stood up to her husband and father and told them what she wanted instead of just acquiescing to their every wish. Besides that, Maggie is a very likable character, and I liked Denny as well. Denny seemed to be the only one ...more
Jan 26, 2015 Ariel rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2015
I have to say that I might have set myself up for not liking this book from the start. I chose to read it right after reading A Tree Grows In Brooklyn and, as superstitious as it might sound, there's not really anywhere to go but down when you like a book as much as I liked A Tree. The writing itself is okay but it didn't seem to connect me with the experience of the book or the lives of the characters in any noticeable way. It also felt like Smith was trying her hardest to make sure all the cha ...more
May 02, 2011 Carolann rated it really liked it
Betty Smith is best known as the author of coming-of-age-tale ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ – which happens to also be one of my most favorite books. For me, it is most important for a book not to have an exciting plot, or an exhilarating climax, but instead to have memorable and well-developed characters – and Betty Smith excels in creating characters. Reading a Betty Smith tale is like sitting down to a girls night discussion and chatting with your closest friends. If you have never read a novel ...more
Jan 02, 2013 Maggie rated it it was ok
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Apr 05, 2015 Donna rated it really liked it
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Jun 12, 2012 Ainsley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book many, many times since I obtained my first copy more than 30 years ago. I recently replaced my tattered original copy with this new edition. Unfortunately, this text is so riddled with typos, particularly in the first third of the book, that my enjoyment of the story was slightly diminished. I've never felt moved to contact a publisher about the quality of a book, but the mistakes in this one are driving me to do so. Last year I bought a new edition of A Tree Grows in Brook ...more
May 15, 2015 Kevin rated it liked it
Shelves: drama
Nice epic family saga, again set in Brooklyn, again with interesting, turn-of-the-century/early 20th century characters and settings. More social archaeology but less compelling. Less engaging for me. The pacing was off for me and i also did not like the switching between protagonists without some kind of frame. I think. I really don't have a good handle on why it did not hold me or why i did not care about anyone. Current mood? Not sure but i put it down because i did not ever look forward to p ...more
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Maggie-Now 1 11 Jul 04, 2011 11:53PM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Betty Smith (AKA Sophina Elisabeth Wehner): Born- December 15, 1896; Died- January 17, 1972

Born in Brooklyn, New York to German immigrants, she grew up poor in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. These experiences served as the framework to her first novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (19
More about Betty Smith...

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“How much do they be paying you?" he asked mellowly.

"The usual salary. A little more than they think I'm worth and a little less than I think I'm worth.”
“... Now my wandering days are over. It will be bliss to settle down. Bliss. There's a word, now. Bliss to love and to be loved.” 4 likes
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