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Joy in the Morning
 
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Betty Smith
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Joy in the Morning

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  3,741 ratings  ·  443 reviews

In Brooklyn, New York, in 1927, Carl Brown and Annie McGairy meet and fall in love. Though only eighteen, Annie travels alone to the Midwestern university where Carl is studying law to marry him. Little did they know how difficult their first year of marriage would be, in a faraway place with little money and few friends. But Carl and Annie come to realize that the struggl

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Published October 28th 1971 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1963)
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Amy
My mom passed this along to me a few years ago, and I finally picked it up this week after reading something about it on someone's blog. It's hard not to love Betty Smith after "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," so I was optimistic about this one. It was very similar in style and pace to the aforementioned... unsentimental but leaving you cheering for the characters, hoping for them. I really wanted their lives to get easier, really wanted them to keep loving each other and not give up in spite of thei...more
Sarah Beth
This is one of the loveliest, sweetest books I've ever read. It takes a mental adjustment to appreciate the time period, so don't get thrown off by the relationship in the early pages of the book. The reward of watching the young couple's first year of marriage unfold makes the early awkwardness, and, frankly, shocking first bits worth it and actually understandable. This is not a plot driven book, but really a sweet story of young love at a "middle western" college.
Karen
I love Betty Smith. If I could be a writer, I would hope my work would be similar to her style. She grew up in Brooklyn, and is most known for her book "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," which still ranks as my #1 book.

I appreciate the way Betty Smith can make you attach to characters. You feel like you are peeking into their windows and watching it first hand.

This story is based around a young, married couple in the 1920s, trying desperately to stay afloat. It is a struggle without feeling like a str...more
Annie McCarty
This book is endearing from the very first page. I read it in middle school, after a friend (Leah!) recommended it to me, and immediately fell in love with Annie (it helps that we share the same name!). I had already read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, but this wasn't anything like I expected. Annie is completely charming, and will sweep you off your feet with her wholesome and winsome ways. The book follows Annie and Carl's lives as a poor but earnest newlywed couple in the 1920's. Their dialogue is...more
Andrea
If I could, this would be 3.5 stars. I felt like I was falling in love again for the first time with my husband. This story was a sweet love story and really had me reminising about courtship and being a newlywed. Anyone who has been poor and struggling as a newlywed, but so in love that it doesn't matter, will love relating to this book. It is an easy read and lighthearted.
Brian
Mar 22, 2008 Brian rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who liked "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn"
After reading and finishing "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," also by Betty Smith, I wanted to read something else that she wrote, so I picked up "Joy in the Morning," which she wrote 20 years later. It held my interest and was a quick read. Like "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," "Joy in the Morning" is a novel with an auto-biographical theme. It provides a fictionalized account of Betty Smith's first year of marriage to a law student attending a mid-western university (the University of Michigan in Ann Arb...more
Beth Gordon
I picked this book up because I loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn so much. Written by the same author, this is a sweet story about the first year of marriage of two young people set in the late 1920s. They love each other, want to be together, are a little naive, their families aren't supportive of them marrying so young, but they set out to prove that they can do it. I particularly enjoy it because neither give up their passion (him for completing law school, her for her reading/writing). They lea...more
Emily
What I enjoyed most about this book was the spirit of the protagonist, Annie. Her courage, her reactions, her strength as a mere teenager were extraordinary, even a little unbelievable. But it was her character that I enjoyed most about this narrative.

The unfeeling nature of their respective families was tough to digest, especially the suffocating, unhealthy mother-son tie on the part of Annie's mother-in-law. It certainly felt real, though, as I've known more than one such mother-in-law.

I kept...more
Emily
Everybody seems to be comparing this book to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which is one of my favorite books of all time. You cannot compare this book or any book to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It is a classic and will always be one of the best. However, this book by itself is utterly charming and wonderful. One of the opening chapters where Annie, who has little education but loves reading and writing, says funnel-melody when she was trying to say fundamentally in a conversation with Carl melted my h...more
Susann
Jun 21, 2009 Susann rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Susann by: Lani
I loved every page of this sweet and honest look at the first year and a half of marriage for young Annie and Carl. It's impossible to not love Annie from the moment she babbles - in her thick Brooklyn accent - to the Town Hall marriage clerk about all the Middle West books she's read. The love between Carl & Annie is true and, yes, uplifting. But Smith never descends into schmaltz or sentimentality.

Because this is such a seemingly simple story, I wavered between giving this 4 or 5 stars. B...more
Amy
There was something so very special about this book to me. I wanted to read this one by Betty Smith because I liked "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" so much and I was also looking for a little nostalgia.

Boy did I get nostalgia with this book. I love stories from the early 20th Century. We tend to romanticize that period of American History. I do anyway. There's something about the struggles and the ethics of those times that we refer to as "simpler".

I guess they were simple, yet I don't think people...more
Heidi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maggie
Betty Smith is my writing queen. Such a fabulous book - Smith tells a simple, believable story. It's great because of how unembellished it is. The book is a story of a young married couple who struggles with finances (is there any other kind?) living in the American Midwest during the late 1920s. Carl is a young man of twenty training to be a lawyer, and Annie is his eighteen year old bride. Like all of Smith's books, the story doesn't have much of a concrete plot - it flows along gently with th...more
Catherine
What a sweet, honest, and completely endearing book this was! It's the story of a young marriage in its first year, and yes, while there are 'problems', they don't take over like they might in books written today. I think these days we've gotten a little too used to conflict as the catalyst of our plot trajectories. Anyway, what shines through in this portrayal of Carl and Annie's life together is the LOVE they have for each other, and that they always find their way back to, no matter how diffi...more
Chloe
Jan 21, 2008 Chloe rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who has read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.
This is the second book I have read by Betty Smith, author of my all-time favorite book, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. While Joy in the Morning lacks some of the depth of A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, it well worth the read. Smith has a way of describing and alluding to the harsh realities of life without losing the hopefulness of her protagonists. Annie of Joy in the Morning and Francie of A Tree Grows In Brooklyn live in poverty, but they strive and struggle to thrive. But this is no improbable rags t...more
Synesthesia
Here I am reading this book again. I love this book, but, it's interesting to learn so much about 1928. The money, for one thing gets a bit confusing as you could get so much more with 1 dollar back then than now.
The frustrating thing is how few choices a woman had back then. Annie's main purpose was to get married and have babies even though she was somewhat smarter than her husband who would become a lawyer. Sometimes Carl would get so mad at her when she just wanted to do her own thing and s...more
Kiersten
Betty Smith, author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, wrote another wonderful book, and I had no idea until last week. This book is set in the late 1920s. Annie, from Brooklyn, marries Carl and moves to the Midwestern university where Carl is a law student.

I believe that with all of the advancements we have made in the last 100 years, we have certainly lost some of the class and sweetness of my grandparent's generation. Annie and Carl are as poor as can be. They immediately face persecution from bot...more
Saltlakecityhardys
A Brooklyn couple marries and heads off to law school. Carl is bright and ambitious and his bride is hardworking and genuine. Through the kindness of a dean she discovers her own gifts even though she is not a student at the university. Annie befriends all that she meets and the reader enjoys many varied characters through her associations and friendships.

Young married life is lean and stressful but love and determination go a long way toward life's successes both interpersonal and academic.
Julia
The 1945 film version of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn just became available from Netflix, and after watching it and loving it, I was in the mood to read the book again. It's one of my favorites, but the kind of favorite I like to savor; I only want to read it every few years, in case I get sick of it. So I had the brilliant idea to finally read the rest of Betty Smith's books and put them all on hold through the Boston Public Library.

From other reviews, it sounded like Maggie-Now and Tomorrow Will B...more
Charlotte
This is another great book by Betty Smith. I read it shortly after A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which might have lessened my enjoyment of it a bit. I wouldn't recommend reading them back-to-back as the style is very similar. This story follows Carl and Annie through young love and marriage. The reader shares in their experiences of moving to a new town, dealing with pregnancy and trying to survive on very little money. The book is very hopeful and uplifting, without being smarmy.
Bucket
Having read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn several times and counting it among my favorites, I picked this up. I was relatively disappointed - it's pretty saccharine. Part of this is the era it's set in (late 1920s) which I forgive, but it was also generally oversimplified emotionally which made it just too goody-goody. In this way it reminded me quite a bit of Little Women, but at least that novel is meant for youth, not adults. It read the way a smart but naive young woman would write about life in...more
Kitty
Had high hopes for this after "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" and was surprised to be so annoyed by the constant cost breakdown of these character's everyday life, even though this element was present in "Brooklyn."

Also couldn't stand the jerky controlling husband, though I'm guessing his behavior and attitude towards his wife would have been normal and expected during the time the book was written.
Shelley
I read this because I really like another title by this author. I liked this one too, although "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" was better. It takes place in 1927 in a midwestern university town. It's about a very young couple that gets married, and they struggle through financial difficulties as he finishes school and she has a baby. I like how they stay devoted to each other, even when times are hard.
Sjcapanna
This is a lesser-known book by the author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Like Tree, this book offers an interesting snippet of what everyday life was like in the early 20th century. Unlike Tree, there was no plucky heroine to root for, nor any extraordinarily difficult hardships for the characters to overcome. A sweet little story, though.
Jo
This is a beautiful story of a young couple in their first year of marriage, set in the 1930's (I think--I'm doing this from memory). I don't remember too much, but just that I really understood the characters, and it was an uplifting book about the ups and downs of married life. I enjoyed it immenseley.
Agatha
By the same author as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Definitely a good book and a good read, but I can see why this one is not the transcendent classic that A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is. It seems a little more old-timey, a little more rooted in a specific time and place. Still a great read, which I very much enjoyed, but not as much universal and timeless appeal as ATGiB, I believe.

Summary: Carl and Annie Brown are young (20 and 18) newlyweds from Brooklyn who are living on a college campus somewhere...more
Alisha
So good! I tore right through it. I wish their were sequels so I could keep up with their lives. In the first chapter they get married and it's a little suggestive. I was worried that the book might be a little racy, but it wasn't.
Andrea
What a wonderful representation of life as a young, poor, married couple! I love the journey these two took together and am so happy this book was recommended to me.
Ava
The book is set in the early 1900s. The heroine, Annie has just turned 18. She has packed her bag and left home to travel to where her boyfriend, Carl lives. Carl is a law student in the university town of --. They go straight to get married. They have barely any money. All they have is love for each other and a hankering to be together for ever.

Times are hard. Carl works part time and studies. Annie also finds work and they manage to scrape by, counting pennies and living cheap.

It is a heartwar...more
Erica Hopper
One of my favorite books, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, has stuck with me during all the years since I first read it. With my enjoyment of that book, I've wanted to read more by Betty Smith. After years of wanting, I went to a bookstore and splurged--this was one of the books I purchased.

It's not often that I feel torn over how to rate books. I'm a whole star kind of girl. But with Joy in the Morning i feel three stars is too low and four is too high.

This story isn't plot driven but it's still an e...more
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Glens Falls (NY) Online Book Discussion Group (all welcome) 1 14 Oct 24, 2008 11:18PM  
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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
More about Betty Smith...
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Maggie Now A Tree Grows in Brooklyn & Maggie-Now Tomorrow Will Be Better A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series)

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“Some people do crossword puzzles. I do books.” 19 likes
“Did you ever see so many pee-wee hats, Carl?"
"They're beanies."
"They call them pee-wees in Brooklyn."
"But I'm not in Brooklyn."
"But you're still a Brooklynite."
"I wouldn't want that to get around, Annie."
"You don't mean that, Carl."
"Ah, we might as well call them beanies, Annie."
"Why?"
"When in Rome do as the Romans do."
"Do they call them beanies in Rome?" she asked artlessly.
"This is the silliest conversation...”
7 likes
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