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Maggie-Now (1958)

de Betty Smith, Betty Smith

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372469,740 (3.72)25
"In Brooklyn's unforgiving urban jungle, Maggie Moore is torn between answering her own needs and catering to the desirous men who dominate her life. Confronted by her quarrelsome Irish immigrant father, the feckless lover who may become her husband, and others, Maggie must learn to navigate a cycle of loss, separation, and hope as she forges her own path toward happiness."--P. [4] of cover.… (mais)
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Another book by same author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, where you read about this hopeful person while your heart gets dragged over rocks! ( )
  maitrigita | Oct 2, 2022 |
This was my favorite Betty Smith book, because of all the witty humor, and the character of Patrick Dennis Moore, the father of the girl in the title. He's not a very likeable character, but he sure is an amusing one, and some of the things he says, no matter how harsh or insulting, made me crack up laughing. (Some of the exchanges between him and his sidekick "Mick Mack", are a riot.)

The book begins with Patrick (or Patsy's) leaving Ireland for America, after being humiliated by his girlfriend's brother getting the better of him in a fight, and also because he felt pressured into getting married, even though he loved Maggie Rose. He's soon in the US, and finds himself, to his surprise, married to Mary Moriarty, though his heart still belongs to Maggie Rose. Mary actually named their daughter after her. She was a shy, plain woman, who loved Patsy and accepted that her feelings weren't returned. Sad to say, he realized he loved her when it was too late.

Maggie-Now ("Maggie, now you listen to me", "Maggie, now it's bedtime, etc. got her the nickname) didn't have an easy time of things. Her mother died after giving birth to a boy, when Maggie was 16, and she pretty much raised little Dennis. She had to put up with gossip that the baby was really hers, lost friends her age because of all her responsibilities, and run a household way before her time, with not much support from her father, not to mention companionship.

She meets Claude Bassett when he teaches a local class and they hit it off right away, but he soon disappears without a word. Thinking she won't see him again, she begins dating Sonny, a young man in the neighborhood whom everyone likes, and who wanted to marry her. She gets a postcard from Claude, saying he's coming back, and it's goodbye Sonny. (The guy deserved better than that.) She marries Claude, whom her father decides would be the "perfect enemy" and tries to goad him into arguments, just for the fun of it. Claude has a way of charming people, (Patsy being the exception) and women find him attractive, but he doesn't fit in with the crowd, and it doesn't help that he's Protestant in a mostly Irish catholic neighborhood. he also keeps to himself, and doesn't confide in Maggie-Now the way he should. In his favor, he die attempt to learn about the Catholic church, which was so much a part of Maggie-Now's life, but unfortunately he spoke with a dour, hellfire and damnation type priest, so that was the end of that.

Without warning, Claude would disappear and return months later (can't remember what job he had, but it must have been flexible) and never tell Maggie-Now much, she just trusted him. (Imagine anyone taking a leap of faith like that today! I doubt anyone did it when the book was written, either.) I won't give away the reason, but it turns out to be something he should have shared with her a long time before he did.

There's also side stories: her brother Dennis growing up and getting married, Maggie-Now taking in foster children, to make up for not having her own, the story of timothy (Maggie Rose's brother) and his wife, Lottie and various other characters who you meet along the way.

Enjoy the read! ( )
  EmeraldAngel | Jun 3, 2021 |
I have to say that I might have set myself up for not liking this book from the start. I chose to read it right after reading A Tree Grows In Brooklyn and, as superstitious as it might sound, there's not really anywhere to go but down when you like a book as much as I liked A Tree. The writing itself is okay but it didn't seem to connect me with the experience of the book or the lives of the characters in any noticeable way. It also felt like Smith was trying her hardest to make sure all the characters were as contrary as possible. Which can breed a good plot. But eventually something has to cave in order to grab on to my attention and it just didn't happen for me in Maggie-Now.

I do think I'll reread it at some point in the future. Just to be able to experience it on its own instead of colored by my experience of A Tree. ( )
  lamotamant | Sep 22, 2016 |
Smith's book A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is basically flawless, but this one didn't do it for me at all. It's completely different, to be sure: I think that Smith deliberately makes all the characters in MAGGIE-NOW unsympathetic, which is more like reality than we'd like to admit. However, it's *literature*, dudes, and self-involved human reader that I am, I'm not going to spend several hours of my life on people who are never happy, won't ever be happy, and don't deserve to be happy, not on account of unfortunate external circumstances but because of their own mindsets.

There are plenty of books with unsympathetic characters that I appreciate (the book, and their depiction of those characters, not the characters themselves), and it's not like Smith does this badly. But MAGGIE-NOW is unrelentingly unsympathetic, and a little less than halfway through, I was forced to close the covers to this book forever, to spare myself the agony of watching these characters cause their own train wrecks. ( )
  stephxsu | Dec 31, 2012 |
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Young Patrick Dennis Moore wore the tightest pants in all of County Kilkenny.
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"In Brooklyn's unforgiving urban jungle, Maggie Moore is torn between answering her own needs and catering to the desirous men who dominate her life. Confronted by her quarrelsome Irish immigrant father, the feckless lover who may become her husband, and others, Maggie must learn to navigate a cycle of loss, separation, and hope as she forges her own path toward happiness."--P. [4] of cover.

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