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Bel Kaufman, 'Up the Down Staircase' author, dies at 103

By Kyle Johnson,

Bel Kaufman, who wrote the classic Up the Down Staircase, passed away at her Manhattan home on Friday at the age of 103.

Thea Goldstine, Kaufman's daughter, confirmed her mother's passing, The Associated Press reports.

Kaufman's autobiographical novel Up the Down Staircase examined the crazy world at an American high school and was released in 1965. The novel was written through memos, notes, correspondence with friends and followed a new teacher, Sylvia Barrett. She comes to Calvin Coolidge High School with idealistic thoughts and quickly finds herself growing weary dealing with both often indifferent students and ridiculous administrative hoops to jump through.

According to The New York Times, Up the Down Staircase would go on to essentially live on the best-seller list for a year, and was eventually being translated into 16 languages and sold more than 6 million copies.

The book, which featured memos like "Dear Sir or Madam, In reply to your request for resignation, please be advised yours was filled out improperly," was also adapted into a film. The 1967 movie was directed by Robert Mulligan, with Sandy Dennis in the starring role.

Despite the success of the first book, she only ever released one other, Love, Etc, which was published in 1979 and got middling reviews.

 
 

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