Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ten Books about Large Families - borrowed from anonymous author

Ten Circles Upon the Pond -- a MUST READ!

Spencer’s Mountain by Earl Hamner Jr Anyone who lived through the 1970s will have watched The Waltons and seen the adventures of those seven kids on the mountain. Published in 1961, this novel was the basis for that long-running TV series. Hamner grew up in rural Schuyler, a village in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Heart-warming trials and tribulations. It was also made into a 1963 movie with Henry Fonda.

The Gathering by Anne Enright
Winner of the 2007 Man Booker Prize, this novel features an Irish family with nine children. Veronica, the narrator, examines her family’s troubled past following the funeral of her alcoholic brother, Liam. Not many laughs but acclaimed by the critics.

The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta von Trapp
Published in 1949, this memoir was written by the world’s most famous nun prior to Mother Teresa. She went on to become a baroness and her story became the legendary musical and movie, The Sound of Music. Doe, a deer, a female deer, ray, a drop of golden sun…. you know the rest.

The Happy Hollisters by Jerry West (aka Andrew E Svenson)
A series of books published between 1953 and 1970, the cheerful Hollisters were a mystery-solving family of five children, their parents, a family of cats, and a dog. Jerry West is a pseudonym. The Hollisters was based on Svenson’s own real-life family of six children, who were raised in Bloomfield, New Jersey.

Eight is Enough by Tom Braden
Published in 1975, Bradon released the autobiographical book, Eight is Enough, which inspired a TV series of the same name starring Dick Van Patten. The book focused on his life as the father of eight children but the TV series had little in common with his writing.

Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. & Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
Published in 1948, this memoir tells the story of time and motion study and efficiency experts Frank Gilbreth and Lillian Gilbreth, and their 12 children. It became a movie in 1950. The title refers to Frank’s jokey reply to the frequent questions about why he had so many kids. A sequel, Belles on Their Toes, was published in 1952.

The Kennedys: The Third Generation by Barbara Gibson & Ted Schwartz
Rose and Joe Kennedy Sr had nine children and, of course, their siblings formed the basis of America’s most powerful political family but how can one family be dogged by so much tragedy? Joseph Jr (killed in WW2), John (assassinated president), Rosemary (botched brain surgery), Kathleen (died in plane crash), Eunice, Patricia, Robert (assassinated), Jean and Edward.

The Trolley Car Family by Eleanor Clymer
Clymer, who died in 2001, was a writer of children’s books and is best known for The Trolley Car Family, where the father loses his job at the struggling trolley car company. He ends up with his trolley and drives it into the country at the end of an old line where his large family begins a new life. Published in 1947.

Franny and Zooey and other short stories by J.D. Salinger
The Glass family, where there are seven children, is frequently featured in Salinger’s writing including the novel Franny and Zooey, as well as short story collections of Nine Stories and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction.


Marriage said...

Thanks for the list of books. You seems to have researched a lot.
Marriage Records

Jerry West III said...

Hi Elizabeth,
I was happy to find your list of books about large families, which included The Happy Hollisters by Jerry West. Jerry West (Andrew Svenson) was my grandfather, and I thought you would like to know that we have just republished the first volume in the series. The content is identical to the original book, but it is now available in paperback for the first time ever! Please feel free to read more about the project at