Book Review: When Franny Stands Up by Eden Robins

Posted November 4, 2022 by WendyW in Book Review, bookblogger / 41 Comments

When Franny Stands Up
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

by Eden Robins
Publication Date November 1, 2022
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Genres: Fiction / Family Life / General, Fiction / Historical / General, Fiction / Humorous / General, Fiction / Jewish, Fiction / Magical Realism, Fiction / Women
Pages: 400
Format: ARC

***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel meets A League of Their Own in this inspiring story Buzzfeed calls "a warm hug of a novel."

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.

When Franny Stands Up by Eden Robins is a debut historical novel that made me laugh, but, it’s so much more than just a comedy.  It’s emotional, inspirational, and very unique.  It has humor, and a bit of magical realism along with emotion, trauma, and found family.  

Story Recap: 

Franny Steinberg lives with her parents and older brother in a suburb of Chicago, a wealthy area of mostly Catholic families.  The Steinbergs, a quiet Jewish Family, live in a strong Catholic neighborhood.  One evening, Franny goes to the Blue Moon Club where she witnesses female comedians and experiences a “Showstopper”, a joke told so well that it gives the listener a sense of euphoria.  A Showstopper only works on women, and only when told by a woman.  

When Franny suffers a traumatic event at her friend’s wedding, she escapes to the Blue Moon Club, and she goes onstage and discovers she has her own Showstopper.  And that power can change her life.  But will it? 

My Thoughts: 

When Franny Stands up was a very different story.  I expected a romantic comedy but instead got a beautiful story about friends, found family, discrimination, personal trauma and so much more.  

The humor was a bit hit or miss for me, and I think this is partially due to the time period of the story.  What we found humorous in the early 1950s, doesn’t always translate well to modern times.  What I did enjoy was the banter and humor of the friends and characters of the Blue Moon when they were off stage, their friendship and love for each other was the highlight of the story.  

The book also tackles many of the issues of the day.  First is Franny’s desire to tell jokes at a nightclub.  That is certainly not a job for a proper woman of the time.  Also, the book looks at discrimination and segregation and the effects of WWII.  Leon, Franny’s older brother goes away to the war and comes back a shell of the boy who left.  

When Franny Stands Up was a very unique, funny, and enjoyable read.  This story will stay with me for a while. 


I highly recommend When Franny Stands Up to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

About Eden Robins

Eden Robins loves novels best, but they take forever so she also writes short stories and self-absorbed essays. She co-hosts a science podcast called No Such Thing As Boring with an actual scientist and produces a monthly live lit show in Chicago called Tuesday Funk. Previously, she sold sex toys, wrote jokes for Big Pharma, and once did a stand-up comedy set to an audience who didn't boo. She lives in Chicago, has been to the bottom of the ocean, and will never go to space. WHEN FRANNY STANDS UP is her first novel. Find out more scintillating tidbits at and on Twitter and Instagram @edenrobins.

Have you read When Franny Stands Up?

41 responses to “Book Review: When Franny Stands Up by Eden Robins

  1. Great review Wendy. So glad this turned out to be an enjoyable and meaningful story and seems to reflect the time period well too.

  2. Interesting book. I find the topic of humor intriguing. What makes something funny? Why do we sometimes laugh at things that are actually sad? Is there an element of truth in every joke? I think this book might answer some of those questions.

  3. Great review of this book Wendy! The synopsis does remind me of Mrs Maisel and I like that it discusses more serious subject matter as well.

  4. I get what you mean about the jokes, Wendy – some of them would go right over my head. Jokes from the 50s would no doubt puzzle some folks today, lol. Nice review!