Joy in the Morning (Smith novel)

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First edition (publ. Harper & Row)

Joy in the Morning is a novel by Betty Smith, first published in 1963. It was made into a film, starring Richard Chamberlain as Carl Brown, and Yvette Mimieux as Annie McGairy, in 1965. The book follows the first year of marriage for Brooklynites, Annie McGairy and Carl Brown, in 1927. The novel is told in third person, but it based on Annie's Perspective.


Annie is only eighteen and Carl is twenty. Her family is against their marriage, but the couple weds anyway. They move to Carl's college campus to start their life as a married couple, only to quickly discover that it is hard to keep up with school while trying to entertain a spouse.

Annie is able to make friends with anyone, even the grumpiest people. However, she is naive and full of childlike spirit. She tries to fit in with the college girls, and is even offered a free class because of her talent as a playwright.

Life seems to be going perfectly until Annie learns that she is pregnant. She is scared of what Carl will say and what her mother-in-law and mother will think. Eventually, this couple proves that love endures hardships.


Smith was not pleased when she learned that the editors felt the book was much too long and cut nearly a quarter of the manuscript during their final edit. The extensive cutting can be seen during the scene where Annie gives birth to her child. It merely states, "Nearly a year has passed," and then cuts to a scene where Annie and her baby are at her husband's graduation. This abrupt ending is noticeable to the reader.

Publication information[edit]

  • Smith, Betty (2000). Joy in the Morning. Harper Perennial Modern Classics. ISBN 978-0060956868.