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Papa Married a Mormon

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  912 Ratings  ·  230 Reviews
Papa Married a Mormon made its initial appearance in McCall's magazine in 1955 and later became a bestseller for Prentice-Hall and a selection of two book clubs. Mamma's Boarding House and Uncle Will and the Fitzgerald Curse followed soon after, but good luck finding either of them.

Born in Price, Utah, in 1907 to a Scandinavian Mormon mother and an Irish Catholic father, h
Hardcover, 298 pages
Published September 15th 1976 by Western Epics Publishing Company (first published 1955)
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Feb 19, 2008 Bonnie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This book is John D. Fitzgerald's first and is semiautobiographical. "Papa Married a Mormon" is the first book in a trilogy also including "Uncle Will and the Fitzgerald Curse" and "Mamma's Boarding House." All three are great books. I loved -- loved! -- the ending of "Mamma's Boarding House" and cried and cried.

The thing to remember is that this is a fictionalized account of Fitzgerald's life and family and that he sets the story ten to fifteen years before his parents actually got married, he
Alice Gold
Oct 02, 2007 Alice Gold rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVED this book. I don't know if I am bias because I am a Mormon, but I think anyone would enjoy this amazing story of an amazing family (written by a family member). This book was well written and so so so interesting. I loved the stories, they made me laugh and cry. I loved the themes of the book: religious tolerance, humanity, love, God is love, family is love, many that were so good! Loved it..wish there was a sequel, but it wouldn't be the same without Tom and Tena ...more
Sep 14, 2010 Emmi rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club-1
Not one I would have picked up on my own, but definitely entertaining. And I love the message of Christlike tolerance and love. Tena is by far the most christlike character I've read in a long time and she inspired me. So much so that I would have given it 5 stars except that I have to disagree slightly with the overall message. I felt that the overall message of the book was that it doesn't matter what religion you are, if you are a good person, you're fine. It made me feel like I was on my mis ...more
May 16, 2012 Jenifer rated it liked it
I liked this quite a lot. As many reviewers have noted, this book and its two partners-in-trilogy are out of print and as such, hard to get a hold of but worth the effort. If you read and loved the "Great Brain" books as a kid I think this is a must for you as an adult. (Same author) If you like stories of the early frontier and the characters who inhabited and settled it, (like "These is My Words"); If you like stories where the good guys do bad things sometimes and the bad guys often pull thro ...more
Jan 05, 2014 Christina rated it really liked it
Finally! A good book after so much mediocrity! I wasn't sure what to expect with this book after picking up what has to be the first edition (1955) from my local library. I was pleasantly surprised by how captivating the story, setting, and characters were. Definitely a worthwhile and accurate glimpse into life in central Utah during the early days of settlement. I appreciated that Fitzgerald did not dodge religious issues or paint the Mormons as always tolerant-- they were persecutors too. If F ...more
Mary Ann
May 16, 2011 Mary Ann rated it really liked it
Oh, nostalgia. I forgot how great of a storyteller this author is. He transports you right back to the "Wild West" and it was such a delight to read. I also loved the way the story was written, about religion and how everyone can be a good Christian, regardless of what religion they belong to. He wrote a very unbiased story about the Mormons in this part of Utah and what they worked for and represented. It was a great story of tolerance and forgiveness. Plus, it was just plain fun. And now, I wi ...more
Brooke Swift
May 25, 2014 Brooke Swift rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I read all of "The Great Brain" books by the same author when I was a kid, but this book was more autobiographical and was written for adults. The basic message is one of love and understanding. It was well written, humorous, and touching.
Sep 15, 2013 Trace rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, favorites
Mamma Fitzgerald is being added to my list of literary momma's who I count as mentors; and so she is joining the ranks of such 'women as Marmee or Mrs. March, Laddie's mother and, Mother Carey. What an inspiring woman -and she is indeed a real woman - the author's mother...

As a child, I ADORED Fitzgerald's Great Brain books. I had a teacher who ADORED them and read them aloud to us with just the perfect inflection in her voice (thank you Mrs. D!!) ...we were CAPTIVATED... I read them over and ov
Jack Cheng
I have been obsessed with John D. Fitzgerald lately, but I think I may have found some closure after reading Papa Married a Mormon, his book about life in the Utah territories before and after statehood. It’s both the adult version and an antidote to the Great Brain books.
Fitzgerald was, of course, the author of several Great Brain books for children and the eponymous narrator of the books, J.D. Papa Married a Mormon is presented as fiction, but based on life. The Foreward describes the author
May 12, 2010 Tatiana rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
I'm not sure whether to call this a memoir or a family history or what. I found this biographical book by the author of a series of some of my favorite books in childhood, The Great Brain series, to be delightful. Many of the characters we met in the kids books are here again in real life, plus a few others we haven't learned about before.

I loved the story of JD's uncle Will, his father's brother, who was a gunslinger and had made his fortune owning the best saloon in Silverlode. There were man
Oct 25, 2009 Lu rated it it was amazing
I never would have read this book had Bridget not recommended it. (I don't particularly enjoy pioneer type books). This is a funny and interesting perspective of living in and around Mormons in the early days of Utah. I love, love, love that this is non-fiction! That Uncle will won a saloon in a game of cards, shacks up with a dance hall girl and is still considered part of the family, well, that's a side of the early days of Utah I haven't heard much about.

There are some people in these storie
Dec 19, 2012 Danielle rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A fun read. I love the Great Brain series, but this book, written for adults, was much better. Especially because The Great Brain is fiction, based on actual events in the author's life, while this was (I believe) meant to be non-fiction. He does qualify that slightly in the introduction, but on the whole, I believe it's accurate.
Anyway, it's fascinating to read about turn-of-the-century Utah, and especially about the divergent religions and backgrounds of the main characters in a small Mormon
Feb 04, 2015 Richard rated it it was amazing
A fascinating depiction of life in Utah before statehood. Many of the individuals that shaped characters within The Great Brain books appear, but they are so differently depicted here (and the delicate political problems faced by both Gentiles and Mormons in this time before statehood is captured so wonderfully).
Jun 06, 2014 Cecilia rated it it was amazing
This is our 1st ever family Classic. I have never read a story that addresses christian religions in such a great way. We relate to this story in our family. The discussions we had about this family and their experiences have lead us to plan to read it again as a family. Each night we read this out loud as a group we were sad when we had to stop. So many great nuggets of goodness amid difficult situations. Families are complicated. Communities are diverse. I can only hope that my son will be abl ...more
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
Mar 27, 2008 Holly (2 Kids and Tired) rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 07, 2011 Amy rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, an autobiographical account of the author's parents. John D. Fitzgerald is the author of "The Great Brain" series, which I enjoyed as a youth. I found this book to be entertaining, informative, faith-promoting, and couldn't stop thinking about the characters when I wasn't reading. My husband and daughters all enjoyed some of the parts I shared with them.
Jun 04, 2011 Melody rated it liked it
I enjoyed the story so much I hardly noticed the clunky writing. No, that's not true. I enjoyed the story so much I was able to disregard the clunky writing, mostly. It's a fictionalized biography, and it's a lot of fun. Fitzgerald's relatives were very interesting people, if half of what he wrote was true. I especially liked Uncle Will, unrepentant black sheep of the family.
My favorite thing about this book is that it was true. It made it more interesting to think that all these experiences happened to real people back in the "wild west" The very early days of the church. I did love the main character but she almost seems to good to be true? A fun read.
Sep 14, 2008 Myla rated it liked it
Recommended to Myla by: Marlene Bennett
I would give this book 4 stars up until they got married and then after that 3 stars. It was fun to read, I HATED the dog fight chapter...yuck! I thought for sure it would end up with everyone getting baptized Mormon, but I'm sure Tom D., has done all their work. :)
Krisette Spangler
Jul 28, 2011 Krisette Spangler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Excellent, excellent, excellent. Mr. Fitzgerald gives us a glimpse of the settling of Utah. He recounts the story of his father and mother and brings the wild west to life. It has all the elements of a great story; gunfights, love, and the great brain.
Jul 07, 2015 Nat added it
Thoroughly entertaining "historical biography" of Fitzgerald's family in early Utah territory. Reads like fiction (which some of it probably is, or at least history as modified be repeated retelling in the family for generations). It really shows the rough and tumble features of frontier towns (with entire businesses being lost and won in poker games and people being gunned down a the drop of a hat). Not sure how accurate any of this is, but it makes a great story full of human drama and western ...more
Dec 31, 2008 Drgibson63 rated it it was amazing
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Oct 10, 2013 Jill rated it really liked it
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Aug 01, 2010 Carolyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: based-on-history
I enjoyed this book back in 1985 and pick it up to reread once in a while. The collision of two life styles in one town: the wild west mining side of town with all of its debauchery, and the Mormon side where every day life is more law abiding makes for a great story. The characters are delightful, especially papa and mama Fitzgerald. These two people are firm in their own beliefs of right and wrong and work out peaceful solutions to town and family problems. The evil is evil and the good is ref ...more
Bill Kte'pi
May 24, 2015 Bill Kte'pi rated it really liked it
For anyone who grew up with the Great Brain books, reading the history of the Fitzgerald family will be fascinating, and learning who "Uncle" Mark is will blow your mind. Weirdly, although details here are closer to real-life than in the Great Brain books (which totally leave out the Fitzgerald boys' older sister), they're still not entirely true, with names changed, curses invented (and yet, again, the curse isn't exactly the same as in the Great Brain books), who knows what else.
Mar 24, 2014 Alanna rated it it was amazing
Just finished re-reading this, and can I say how much I love this book? I love all the wild west stories and reading them for the 4th (or 5th?) time was an absolute pleasure.

A few things struck me a bit differently now, reading as a grown up with a family of her own-- as much as Mamma is clearly beloved by everyone, and a wonderful example of a good Christian woman, I did sort of wonder how she let everyone just wind up Catholic. I wish she would have fought harder to teach her children her beli
E. Writes
Apr 28, 2014 E. Writes rated it it was amazing
Papa Married A Mormon was a fun, heart warming, and often thrilling account of life in the real west when there were still such things as gun-slinging gamblers, soiled doves, and a strong minded Mama that would fearlessly storm reprobate father's doors and take their mistreated boy away from them.
The tales in this book are educational and inspiring for all ages, and I'd heartily recommend it as a read aloud, or read alone, in any family.
Laurel Wicke
Mar 22, 2012 Laurel Wicke rated it really liked it
Recommended to Laurel by: Erin Steck
Notes upon second reading 3/12: The ending still got me the second time around. Tears. I still think this one is a treasure.

This out of print book was given to me to read by a friend who treasures it, and sure enough, I found it fascinating. Part memoir, part biography, and part western history lesson, the author of the eventual "Great Brain" series, John D. Fitzgerald, chronicles his parents' lives, his childhood, and the settlement of "Adenville, Utah" (other reviews suggest that the real name
Feb 24, 2016 Angela rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-group
While not a religious book per se, this book was a wonderfully enjoyable view into the lives of those people who settled the Price area of Southern Utah (often a real look into the wild West!), including fun and touching stories and examples of what it truly means to live as a Christian. I laughed and cried and recommend this book interested in the history of the late 1800's.
April Fear
Feb 25, 2016 April Fear rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. The author has a gift of retelling stories from his family and childhood that emotionally draw you in. The book contains history of Southern Utah, along with funny and touching stories of the Fitzgerald family from the mid-1800's through the early 1900's. I read this book during my lunch breaks, and it put a smile on my face every day.
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John Dennis Fitzgerald was born in Price, Utah, on February 3, 1906, to Thomas and Minnie Melsen Fitzgerald. His father had a pharmacy degree but engaged in a number of business ventures and served on the Price Town Council for four years. John graduated from Carbon High School and at the age of eighteen and left Utah to pursue a career as a jazz drummer. He wo
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