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Franny Steinberg knows there's powerful magic in laughter. She's witnessed it. With the men of Chicago off fighting WWII on distant shores, Franny has watched the women of the city taking charge of the war effort. But amidst the war bond sales and factory shifts, something surprising has emerged, something Franny could never have expected. A new marvel that has women flocking to comedy clubs across the nation: the Showstopper.
When Franny steps into Chicago's Blue Moon comedy club, she realizes the power of a Showstopper—that specific magic sparked when an audience laughs so hard, they are momentarily transformed. And while each comedian's Showstopper is different, they all have one thing in common: they only work on women.
After a traumatic flashback propels her onstage in a torn bridesmaid dress, Franny discovers her own Showstopper is something new. And suddenly she has the power to change everything…for herself, for her audience, and for the people who may need it most.
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What the people are saying:
"It's a book about comedy, so it's funny – but it's a book about comedy, so it's also wrenching and difficult to look at (or look away from) in places. The supernatural conceit at the heart of the tale – the Showstoppers – are played perfectly, in matter-of-fact realness...[Robins] has blossomed into an outstanding talent, a storyteller who manages to tell tales that feel utterly contemporary and like old classics." -- Cory Doctorow (full review)
"A warm hug of a novel that empathetically covers topics like trauma, queerness, and gender equality." -- Buzzfeed
"Prepare yourselves for this one, because this novel is the perfect funny and heartbreaking read to pick up for the fall...When Franny Stands Up is funny, sweet, and certainly magical, but it also covers difficult topics— such as PTSD and sexual identity— with insight and heart." -- Book Riot
"This is a fucking powerhouse of a novel. If you think it's a fantasy Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, you're missing the wonderful and glorious nuance of this book. This is a book about comedy and trauma and family. It is funny and heartbreaking on every other page. I could not stop reading it, and I had deadlines and kittens that should have pulled me away. I love Franny and all her awkwardness and strength. I loved her family. The only things I didn't love were things that were supposed to make me uncomfortable and did it with mastery. Eden Robins is a helluva powerful writer. This book is a Showstopper." -- Mary Robinette Kowal
"Readers will fall in love with this one." -- Publisher's Weekly (full review)
"Just like a good comedy routine, which can find hilarity even as it cuts, this book ultimately delights beyond the seriousness that underlies the story. Although Franny belongs to another time, she is someone in whom we can believe, someone we know, perhaps even someone we recognize in ourselves." - LitStack (full review)
"When Franny Stands Up is a story not just about standing up on a stage, it’s also standing up for what’s right and standing up for yourself. Franny’s journey is sometimes painful but, overall, heartfelt and compelling." - Historical Novel Society (full review)
"Sprightly, fast-moving, and bawdy, filled with a host of distinct and colorful characters, this novel wears its seriousness like summer linen, always there but never getting in the way of a good time. Along the way it touches on an astonishing range of topics—gender equality, power dynamics, family secrets, sexual politics, domestic violence, race relations, indigenous erasure, workplace safety, blockbusting, even the Holocaust—while remaining as funny, naughty and thought-provoking as a well-constructed comedy set." - William Shunn (full review)