Cover for FERBER: Fanny Herself

Fanny Herself

This intensely personal chronicle of a young girl growing up Jewish in a small midwestern town is the most autobiographical of Pulitzer Prize-winning Ferberís novels, full of fine, full-blown, and fascinating characters. (UofIís paperback reprint of Ferberís So Big has sold close to 7000 copies!)

Heralded by one reviewer as "the most serious, extended and dignified of [Edna] Ferber's books," Fanny Herself is the intensely personal chronicle of a young girl growing up Jewish in a small midwestern town. Packed with the warmth and the wry, sidelong wit that made Ferber one of the best-loved writers of her time, the novel charts Fanny's emotional growth through her relationship with her mother, the shrewd, sympathetic Molly Brandeis.

"You could not have lived a week in Winnebago without being aware of Mrs. Brandeis," Ferber begins, and likewise the story of Fanny Brandeis is inextricable from that of her vigorous, enterprising mother. Molly Brandeis is the owner and operator of Brandeis' Bazaar, a modest general store left to her by her idealistic, commercially inept late husband. As Fanny strives to carve out her own sense of herself, Molly becomes the standard by which she measures her intellectual and spiritual progress.

Fanny's ambivalent feelings about being Jewish, her self-deprecating attitude toward her gift for sketching and drawing, and her inspired success as a businesswoman all contribute to the flesh-and-blood complexity of Ferber's youthful, eminently believable protagonist. She is accompanied on her journey by impeccably drawn characters such as Father Fitzpatrick, the Catholic priest in Winnebago; Ella Monahan, buyer for the glove department of the Haynes-Cooper mail order house; Fanny's brother, Theodore, a gifted violinist for whose musical education Molly sacrifices Fanny's future; and Clarence Heyl, the scrappy columnist who never forgot how Fanny rescued him from the school bullies.

Ferber's only work of fiction with a strong autobiographical element, Fanny Herself showcases the author's enduring interest in the capacity of strong women to transcend the limitations of their environment and control their own circumstances. Through Fanny's honest struggle with conflicting valuesĖfinancial security and corporate success versus altruism and artistic integrityĖFerber grapples with some of the most deeply embedded contradictions of the American spirit.

Listed as a "classic return" by Library Journal

To order online:
http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/48pwb7nm9780252069468.html

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
Half Portions

Edna Ferber

Personality Plus

Some Experiences of Emma McChesney and Her Son, Jock

Edna Ferber

Roast Beef, Medium

The Business Adventures of Emma McChesney

Edna Ferber

Mushrooms of the Midwest

Michael Kuo and Andrew S. Methven

Maya Market Women

Power and Tradition in San Juan Chamelco, Guatemala

S. Ashley Kistler

Autism and Gender

From Refrigerator Mothers to Computer Geeks

Jordynn Jack

The Pekin

The Rise and Fall of Chicago’s First Black-Owned Theater

Thomas Bauman

Quakers and Abolition

Edited by Brycchan Carey and Geoffrey Plank

A Feminist Ethnomusicology

Writings on Music and Gender

Ellen Koskoff