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Mama's Bank Account (Harvest/HBJ Book) Paperback – March 20, 1968


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Product Details

  • Series: Harvest/HBJ Book
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (March 20, 1968)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156563770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156563772
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Easy reading, but so enjoyable.
Sally Dowis
It made me laugh till I cried, cry till I laughed!
Dan Barksdale III
This is one of my favorite books to read aloud.
L. Olfert

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on February 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
I won't give away the spoiler that ties together the whole plot, but needless to say it's right up there in the title of the book and it's still a surprise even after sixty years or more since the novel was first published. Kathryn Forbes must have been a delightful woman and her book is one of the finest achievements ever to have been written in San Francisco. And that's saying something, considering what a rich and cultured city ours is. One episode that will stick with me forever is the time when the little girl and her brother are talked into providing food for their whole class at school, and "Mama" saves the day by cooking up some of her good old Swedish (I guess Norwegian) meatballs. When I first read this passage I was but a little boy and had never heard of any kind of meatballs but Italian ones! Next thing you know, my mom and dad took us to dinner and the waiter asked me what I wanted to eat and I surprised them all by asking for "Swedish meatballs on little tooth picks."

It's a family book for people whose families are no longer with us. And it will rekindle the spirit of hope in everyone, with its message of universal tolerance and mother love.
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By L. Olfert on August 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is one of my favorite books to read aloud. I taught junior highers for many years and this was a book they loved! Many times I taught sisters and brothers in later years and they would invariably ask when I was going to read Mama's Bank Account. The story appeals to both boys and girls and though Mama is the central character, I appreciated the fact that Papa was a very strong, loving support to the family. After you have read the book, watch the video! It is one of the few books that made the transition to the screen and is delightful!
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Maynard F. Allington on May 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
I first read this novel in 1946 as a freshman in high school. The author's son was a sophomore in the same school. Dick was enormously popular, class president, a natural athlete, gifted amateur actor, public speaker and writer. Certainly a remarkable lad in his own right. (In 1947, having dropped a water bomb on one of the faculty, I knew my days were numbered and changed schools. Never ran into Dick again. So this is not a review written by a friend). That said, it was only de rigueur to read a book written by a classmate's mother.
The story line has been described by other reviewers, and their comments are right on target. One thing I might add is that Kathryn Forbes enjoyed a widespread national celebrity in the late forties, particularly after the Hollywood film was released. The story was also adapted for theater and, later, television. Sadly, celebrity is a perishable commodity.
I picked up this book and read it again last year. As a published novelist, I read it on this occasion with a very critical eye. It is as fresh as it was more than half a century ago. Not a great novel in the Faulknerian sense, but certainly a small classic. It is a charming work of great originality. Anyone interested in becoming a writer would do well to study it. See how beautifully Kathryn Forbes blends the theme and story line. Check out the clever characterization, and the simplicity of her writing style (never pretentious). This book is truly a little gem of its genre.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Dan Barksdale III on July 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
Having grown up in the Bay Area, I found this book a wonderful piece of history. It made me laugh till I cried, cry till I laughed! A true San Francisco story!
A family of Norwegian immigrants who love San Francisco as much as we all do! This novel is about the love that moves this family, the love that moves the family matriarch: Mama, to sacrifice and care for her family through good times and bad, to see to it, in a loving and touching way, that her family, particularly the children, feel secure and happy, and all the things that families do for each other; as Barbara Kingsolver wrote in Pigs In Heaven: All families are crazy! How true! This is a truly entertaining novel, to be read in one night, at one sitting. We grow to love Mama and Papa, Kathryn, Nells, "Uncle" Elizabeth, and of course: the wonderful, old Uncle Chris, who we grow to love to the point of shattering tears at his death.
We also grow to love the San Francisco Bay Area! I loved hearing about all the landmarks that I'd seen my whole life, spoken of in print from the perspective of someone who lived sixty to seventy years ago! And I laughed till I cried at the thought that the East Bay was ever referred to or thought of as "the country!" Actually, I think I did see a goat there once, a strange old man kept him in his yard so he wouldn't have to mow! HA! Get this rich novel, which takes place in a rich area, about some of the richest people I've ever read about!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 4, 1998
Format: Paperback
I have read this book to my seventh grade English classes for the past twenty-seven years. I am still amazed at how the students of today still enjoy the wonderful events of this Norwegian family's life in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. It really does give children and adults alike a reason to pause and see how life could be. It was made into a wonderful movie entitled "I Remember Mama" with Irene Dunne. It, too, is a wonderful adjunct to the reading of the novel. It is a great book to share with children.
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