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Fanny Herself Paperback – April 12, 2001

4.7 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Published in 1917 and 1913, respectively, these books represent early steps in Ferber's journey to her 1924 Pulitzer Prize. Fanny is the semiautobiographical story of a Jewish girl growing up in the Midwest. Roast Beef is the chronicle of Emma McChesney, a divorced mother and traveling sales rep for T.A. Buck's Featherloom Skirts and Petticoats. Both titles feature vintage illustrations and scholarly introductions.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Listed as a "classic return" by Library Journal
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (April 12, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252069463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252069468
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,646,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Last year I had to do a research paper about three American authors for an English class. I picked Edna Ferber as one of the authors, hoping that I would be able to relate better to a female author. I was at first skeptical about the book, because I'm not a big fan of classic books, but I sat down with it and after a few hours of convincing, I finally opened the book. To this day I'm still glad that I did. The story tells the tale of Fanny, a young independednt Jewish girl from a small midwestern town who's drive to become a business woman soon takes her from the small town she grew up in and plops her down in the middle of a large city where she takes a job as a sales lady, determined to prove herself. Through light humor and a playful tone Ferber shows the reader how Fanny at first struggles, but then succeeds in turning a thriving business completely around, and giving the company a whole new meaning to life. Though at first I didn't think this book would be any good at all, I encourage everyone who has ever strived for a goal in life to read this book--it will give you such a respect and admiration for Fanny that you won't be able to put it down until the very last page.
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Format: Hardcover
The daughter of a Hungarian-born father and Milwaukee-native mother, Edna Ferber spent much of her childhood years in small midwestern towns. Her family, while not observant, always closed their store for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, never missing a Passover seder. Ferber felt that being Jewish was to be subjected to anti-Semitism. In 1917 she wrote Fanny Herself, based largely on the experiences she had while growing up in Appleton, Wisconsin and later in Chicago, Illinois. Her's is a tale of a young Jewish girl trying to become a successful businesswoman in early twentieth century America without denying her Jewish roots or subverting her social conscience. This newly abridged, four cassette, six hour audiobook edition (wonderfully narrated by Suzanne Toren) will introduce a whole new generation of listeners to a remarkable literary talent and an engaging, personal, affirming biography.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I downloaded this on my kindle as I had never before read anything by her and I have to say its a wonderful read. Its an amazing semi-autobiography narrative of an independent smart businesswoman in a time when women, let alone Jewish women, didn't often pursue business and the influence of environment and family is timeless. I can't wait to read some of her more famous novels -- Giant that became the famous movie and So, Big for which she won the Pulitzer Prize. I googled her and found many fascinating facts about her including the many plays she wrote with George S. Kaufman and the anti-semitism she faced by some of her contemporary authors.

Worth the read for a voice on being a woman and being a Jew in an earlier American era. But more so, its value is that it is a well written charachter study and just a really great read. I wish I'd discovered her years ago and I'm excited to jump into her whole collection.
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Format: Paperback
Edna Ferber's classic novel "Fanny Herself" is many things. It is a "semi-autobiographical" novel about a young girl growing up in Appleton Wisconsin in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century. It is loosely based on episodes from her own life, and other family members. Her older sister was named Fannie, and was the author of a famous cookbook titled "Fannie Fox's Cookbook". In her autobiography "A Peculiar Treasure" Ferber even quotes several episodes from this book saying that the account cannot be improved upon.

But this is also a novel about religious tolerance and the culture of the midwest during this period of history. Ferber is an acute, humorous, and precise observer of culture and behavior. Her eye for detail, and her ear for dialogue are apparent in the many plays and movies which she wrote. Her observations of the pleasures of growing up as a bright, curious, and Jewish girl in small town Wisconsin are both revealing, and amusing.

Ferber also writes tellingly of the dynamics of her family, a father who could not work, and had no business instincts; a mother who was proud, capable, and competent, unafraid of taking risks, and a sibling for whom much was sacrificed.

Perhaps the most interesting story in this novel evolves after Fanny leaves home and goes to work for a new, rapidly expanding, mail order catalog company based in Chicago. A thinly disquised version of the new and explosive company subsequently called Sears and Roebuck. Although this part of the story is fiction, the descriptions of Sears, how it operates, how it changed American business, it's management, and it's methods are excellent.
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Format: Paperback
I love Edna Ferber's work because she offers such a detailed look at her characters, and also succeeds in capturing a moment in time, place and history. The ending took quite a leap, for me, but overall I loved the book. Enjoy.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The main character, Fanny, is just as moden, fresh, and strong in today's times as she was in 1911. To read a book that took place then, but just as easily could take place now, is completely facinating to this strong willed reader. It makes you really realize that when your grandmother says,"Things aren't that different today, than they were when I was younger," she was right! This writer should not be passed up. It's a wonderful book.
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