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Papa Married a Mormon

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  856 ratings  ·  223 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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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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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).
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
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.
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 3 of 5 stars
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
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
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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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.
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
This book is among my top 10 Favorites. It is very well written. Holds your interest to the end. Read it twice in a row, then took it up to my mothers and read it to her. I also read a chapter out of it to one of my sisters over the phone. I am from a large family and after different ones heard little bits of it they were getting there names to me as to who in the family got to have it next. Had to wait for it to come back to me so I could put it on here. GREAT BOOK!!!
E. Writes
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 4 of 5 stars
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
For the setting of his story, Fitzgerald created Adenville, a fictional town that can easily be mistaken for any southern Utah community from the late 1800s and early 1900s. The book is filled with characters, identified from a child’s perspective and portrayed as they would have been spoken of at the dinner table: Bishop Aden, one of his father’s closest friends, is thought very highly of and described as a person with impeccable character and wisdom. His uncle Will, a brash, gun-fighting saloo ...more
This is such a fun and informative book. John D. tells the story of his father and uncle in the early days of Utah's settlement, with Mormons and miners and outlaws and drunks. The stories are true, but you also get the feeling that they are told with a twinkle in the author's eye--he loves the memories of his childhood growing up in the Territory. It is also obvious that he had wonderful parents, full of love and tolerance and true Christlike charity. He portrays a fair view of the Mormons and ...more
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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
More about John D. Fitzgerald...
The Great Brain (Great Brain #1) More Adventures of the Great Brain (Great Brain #2) The Great Brain at the Academy (Great Brain #4) Me and My Little Brain (Great Brain #3) The Great Brain Reforms (Great Brain #5)

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