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Literature / All-of-a-Kind Family

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A series of books about a Jewish family in the 1910s. It tells the story of five young girls and the everyday trials, tribulations and triumphs of being poor in money, but rich in spirit and family strength.

Contains examples of:

  • Assumed Win: In Uptown, when Sarah loses a coveted History Prize to another girl in her graduating class.
  • Beach Chapter
  • Book Dumb: Henny
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Henny develops shades of this as she gets older.
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  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: In More All-Of-A-Kind Family, Lena calls off her engagement to Hyman, thinking he only pities her due to her leg being permanently crippled by polio.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: Middle child Sarah refuses to eat her rice soup at lunch and is denied anything else until she does.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Averted with Henny, even discussed in All-Of-A-Kind Family Downtown: "So much gold in the hair! What a pity there's so little in the heart." Played straight with Sarah and Gertie.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: Invoked in More All-Of-A-Kind Family with Hyman, whom the girls fix up so he looks good for a date with Lena.
  • Ill Girl: Sarah; Ella mentions her being prone to sore throats, the narrative states that she spends more time in the sick room than her sisters and she's the first one of the sisters to catch Scarlet Fever. Henny is the inverse of this trope, as she can't even catch the disease when she tries.
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  • Informed Judaism: Averted. The narrative discusses Jewish holidays and traditions, and Yiddish dialogue is peppered throughout the story (specifically in the market trip chapter).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Henny, full stop
  • Limited Wardrobe: In the first book, the girls are rarely seen wearing anything other than their dark blue dresses and white aprons.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings
  • Miss Imagination: Charlotte to the point of sometimes being a Cloudcuckoolander, as when she dumps embers in her lap because she thinks they're beautiful.
  • Mistaken Identity: Waiting in the dark, Papa mistakes Henny's friend for Henny (in trouble for breaking curfew) and turns her over his knee for a rigorous spanking. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Morality Pet: Though Henny isn't exactly evil, her softer and more maternal side is mostly reserved for little Charlie.
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  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Well, these books were written in the 1950s.
  • No Name Given: We never do learn Mama and Papa's given names.
  • Old-Timey Bathing Suit
  • Only One Name: ...or the family's last name.
  • Outnumbered Sibling: At the end of the first book, the five sisters get a baby brother.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Charlie's parents forbade him from marrying the love of his life, who walked away in sadness. In anger, he left his home, his old life and even his old name Herbert Charles Grahm. But in the end, he and his sweetheart are happily reunited and she turns out to be the girls' favorite librarian, Kathy Allen.
  • Smitten Preteen Girl: Ella's crush on Charlie
  • Wild Teen Party: Henny goes to one of these in Uptown. Of course, this being 1917, it's pretty tame.


Example of: