John D. Fitzgerald
John Dennis Fitzgerald (February 3, 1906 – May 21, 1988) was an American author.
Fitzgerald was born in Price, Utah, the son of an Irish Catholic father and a Scandinavian Mormon mother. He left Utah in 1925, at the age of 18, and held a variety of jobs, including playing in a jazz band, working at a bank and working for a steel company.
Fitzgerald published his first novel, Papa Married a Mormon, in 1955. Other novels for adults about late nineteenth and early twentieth century Utah followed. Fitzgerald had many stories published in magazines, and he also co-wrote two textbooks about creative writing. In the 1960s, he turned his attention to books for children, writing the highly successful The Great Brain series, in which his characters are loosely based on characters from his own family and community, including himself. The Great Brain is based on his brother, Tom Fitzgerald (1902-1988). Fitzgerald changed many family details in the Great Brain series. He omitted his oldest sibling Isabelle and his younger brothers Charles and Gerald, gave his older brother William the name Sweyn, and invented a family custom of giving sons the middle name Dennis (his older brothers were William J. and Thomas N., not Sweyn D. and Tom D.)
The novels are structured like a collection of short stories, in which Tom either swindles people and then rationalizes it by claiming it was to teach them a lesson, or solves an important problem for the community. There are eight books in the series.
The Great Brain series
- The Great Brain
- More Adventures of the Great Brain
- Me and My Little Brain
- The Great Brain at the Academy
- The Great Brain Reforms
- The Return of the Great Brain
- The Great Brain Does It Again
- The Great Brain Is Back (Published from loose notes after the author's death)
- Papa Married a Mormon (1955)
- Mamma's Boarding House (1958, sequel to Papa Married a Mormon)
- Uncle Will and the Fitzgerald Curse (1961)
- The Professional Story Writer and His Art (1963)
- Structuring Your Novel: From Basic Idea to Finished Manuscript with Robert C. Meredith (1972)
- Brave Buffalo Fighter (1973)
- Private Eye (1974)