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Mamma's Boarding House

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  147 ratings  ·  40 reviews
A humorous novel full of eccentric characters and their adventures in a Utah boarding house, Fitzgerald's sequel to his enormously popular, Papa Married A Mormon. A scarce Fitzgerald title.
Hardcover, 305 pages
Published 1958 by Prentice-Hall
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Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  147 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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Peggy Scripter
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book, the sequel to his first book, Papa Married a Mormon, a complete surprise to me who read all the Great Brain books and thought their whole family was Catholic. I just watched the Jimmy Osmond movie the Great Brain, and though it was pretty good for that time thought what a much better job someone should do of reviving interest in those under appreciated, outstanding books by making a movie today with better pacing and delivery. If they do, I hope they remain true to these great b ...more
Christopher Bunn
John Dennis Fitzgerald is an American treasure. He wrote consistently excellent books with his Great Brain series, a sequence of books about the Fitzgerald family who lived in Adenville, Utah. The mixed Mormon-Protestant/Catholic setting of Adenville provides a colorful and poignant background for the escapades of Tom Fitzgerald, his family and friends.

His Great Brain series are definitely books you'll want in your child's library. They're that rare sort of middle-grade fiction that is written s
Nov 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
This one gets five stars even though it's not as good as Papa Married a Mormon. I was just so happy to be back in Adenville with all those lovely people again. The stories are just as good, but the author's brother Tom is kind of on the periphery, which takes a little of the fun out of it all. ...more
Rick Stuckwisch
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was my first time through this book, by the author of the Great Brain series. It is one of three that he wrote for adult readers prior to that series, but it also deals with his family and their life in "Advenville," Utah. It strikes me that these three books -- Uncle Will and the Fitzgerald Curse, Papa Married a Mormon, and this one, Mamma's Boarding House -- focus as much on Uncle Will as on anyone else. And I took note that some of the adventures of the "Great Brain" were based upon thin ...more
Ashlee Seelos
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the sequel to Papa Married a Mormon. Fitzgerald has done it again. This book starts where the last one left off. The stories are even more wild than the last book and I continue to love each of the characters.
Jul 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-elem-mg
After the death of Papa, and with the children mostly grown and moving on with their own lives, Mamma decides to take on boarders, not only to support herself but to keep busy. John is the only one left at home and he changes his plans of going away to school to stay and help his mother. This is a collection of his stories/memories of that time, one or two of which I think are also told (although a bit differently) in his other books. And this one explains why you won't find Adenville on any map ...more
Dec 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved this book.

It inspired me to do more in depth research. I now have a website and Facebook page about John D. Fitzgerald's family saga books. (being upgraded)
produce your proof
Dec 04, 2019 rated it liked it
As usual, this author's writing is interesting, suspenseful. I could never put the book down. Unfortunately it never made me laugh. The book had a couple stories strangely similar to some in the Great Brain series. However, instead of Tom playing the part- Uncle Will had exactly the same role.

Two reasons why I took off the stars: 1) a violent scene in a bad fistfight, leading to the victim's death. Fistfights and gunfights are usually keeping me on my toes in his book and i like reading about th
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the second of John D.'s adult-aimed books telling a very fictionalised version of his family's history, describing events following his father's death, whereupon his mother decides to open a boarding house, which quickly becomes a matchmaking service as every boarder gets paired off with somebody.

There were a couple of stories in here starring his Uncle Will that were also familiar from the Great Brain children's series, with Tom replacing his uncle in saving an First Nations tribe from
Wow. All I can say is I wish Mr Fitzgerald had kept writing and writing and writing. This was fantastic to read. Do be warned, he is telling the whole story even when it is violent and gruesome (skip past Beeler's story). An American treasure of literature.

Edit: I have adjusted my review a bit since finding out there is quite a bit more fiction in this writing than I thought. Still a great and recommended read.
Heather Culley
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Uncle Will and Aunt Queenie are my favorite.
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the most part I enjoyed this book. Too much detail for me in the description of the violent scenes. It was written in the 1950's, so not always "politically correct" language.
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great one. I wish they would rerelease this book again (I had to buy a used copy) and the third one in the series.
Brenda B
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
A decent sequel. The first one was much better though.
Tom Maseth
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a sequel to his earlier book, Papa Married A Mormon. This book is about Tena Fitzgerald's life after the death of her husband Tom from cancer. She decides to open a boarding house. Such interesting stories about Uncle Will and Aunt Queenie; Earnest; Tom, Sweyn, Katie, and John; Aunt Bertha, Uncle Mark and Aunt Cathie; plus the boarders.
Jun 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
From my blog: (\__/)nymfaux

This book begins where Papa Married a Mormon left off. Clearly my grade school chronology was off. Not only was Mamma’s Boarding House the second book, but there was a third, Uncle Will and the Fitzgerald Curse, that came before the children’s series. It turns out that the children’s series was actually begun as the fourth book of the adult series. It was a matter of timing, a decline in interest in adult books of this nature, mixed with in-house publishing reorganizin
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
I liked this installment a lot better than I liked the first of Fitzgeralds's family histories, Papa Married a Mormon.

The writing was better, the characters more finely drawn, and the events recounted were so interesting. And sometimes tragic, indeed. It made me feel like I was part of the extended family. Again, Uncle Will was a favorite- I'm looking forward to reading Fitzgerald's bio of him, and then I think I'll be moving on to the Great Brain books.

Recommended, if you like this sort of thin
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
While I didn't love this book as much as I loved its predecessor, Papa Married a Mormon, I did enjoy this sequel's look into the history of Utah during the early 1900's. It's easy to forget that Utah was a western state with its share of gunslingers, saloons, and mining towns, but this book reminds us of its rightful place in the wild West.
John D. Fitzgerald is one of those authors that offers us a rare glimpse into a past time and place. I adored his Great Brain books when I was younger and now
Alanna Smith
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Finally getting my hands on this book after having read Papa Married a Mormon and all of The Great Brain books felt like hanging out with old friends again. Adenville is just as charming as ever, and it's impossible not to love Mamma and her ability to bring out the best in everybody. Papa was missed, of course, and I wish Tom (aka, the Great Brain) would have been in the novel more. But it was still an absolute delight to read.
Ellie Leonard
This is the second in the series by John D. Fitzgerald. Though it is a great book, it is often very hard to find. This is the life of Tina Fitzgerald, after her husband has died. She begins her own business, and starts a boarding house. All of the characters who move into her home each have their own story.
More of the old west, but not as quirky as the original. I suppose what it is really lacking is the sweet old-fashioned romance that was introduced between "Papa" and "Mama" in the first one. The old characters are back but it is a little dusty and dry. Still it's nice to know what happened to the old friends(more or less).
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 04-owned-books
This book was just as good as the first book, One of my top 10 favorite. We have purchased 2 copies now because every time I want to read it to someone it is loaned out. We have our own private little library. The nearest public library is 25 miles from us and we have no running vehicle at this time. My husband and I just finished reading it.
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While fun, it's just not at the same level as Papa Married a Mormon or the Great Brain series. I missed Tom and really wished he'd been more involved. I also felt like having an adult narrator took away some of the charm that the other books had. It's still lovable, but it's not a favorite to return to again and again like the other Fitzgerald classics.
Oct 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
I love John Fitzgerald books. They are so funny. This was a sequel to Papa Married a Mormon. It was not as funny as the first, but still fun to read. Very entertaining. Does anyone have a copy of the one about Uncle Will? It is almost impossible to find.
Feb 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Just as wonderful as the first book, Papa Married a Mormon. I LOVE these books. This one has all the warmth and humor and honesty as the first. Every page was real and made me chuckle or cry. I only wish he'd continued his family's story; what an amazing group of people!
Mar 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Not as good as Papa Married a Mormon, but still good. The whole series soured for me when I realized how much literary license the author took. It's fine, as long as you know that going in. But to find out right after you read them...
Nov 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I had never read this one and I loved it as well. Love John D. Fitzgerald's style and I enjoy historical fiction in general.
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
This was ssort of slow and the [pace was not easy to tolerate. I kept reading and waiting for all the action promised in the bi-info but it was all pretty lame.
Anthony Ventrello
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Although not as entertaining as "Papa Married a Mormon", like all of John D. Fitzgerald's books, it is still a joy to read. Hard to find, but well worth the search.
Oct 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Fun, quick read. Vivid writing that really grabs you and brings you into the story. If you liked the "Great Brain" books, you'll definitely enjoy this.
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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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