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Alice Adams

Booth Tarkington

Book Overview: 

A Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Alice Adams chronicles the attempts of a lower middle class American midwestern family at the turn of the 20th century to climb the social ladder. The eponymous heroine is at the heart of the story, a young woman who wants a better place in society and a better life. As Gerard Previn Meyer has stated, “Apart from being the contribution to social history its author conceived it to be, [Alice Adams] is something more, that something being what has attracted to it so large a public: its portrait of a (despite her faults) ‘lovable girl’.”

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .She——"

"Ole Palmer's a hearty, slap you-on-the-back ole berry," Walter interrupted; adding in a casual tone, "All I'd like, I'd like to hit him."

"Walter! By the way, you mustn't forget to ask Mildred for a dance before the evening is over."

"Me?" He produced the lop-sided appearance of his laugh, but without making it vocal. "You watch me do it!"

"She probably won't have one left, but you must ask her, anyway."

"Why must I?"

"Because, in the first place, you're supposed to, and, in the second place, she's my most intimate friend."

"Yeuh? Is she? I've heard you pull that 'most-intimate-friend' stuff often enough about her. What's SHE ever do to show she is?"

"Never mind. You really must ask her, Walter. I want you to; and I want you to ask several other girls afterwhile; I'll tell you who."

"Keep on wanting; it'll do you good."

"Oh, but you really&m. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Booth Tarkington is one of only four repeat winners of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. "Alice Adams" was the second of Tarkington's Pulitzer winning novels. There is a kind of easy style to Tarkington's writing that might justify winning the award, but I can't help thinking that the two novels ("The

This was a book club selection about a young woman, Alice, and her family in midtown America in the 1930’s. Alice is trying to find love, but finds it difficult to compete with the other girls in town, whose families are much wealthier. Surprisingly, she does happen to catch the eye of a handsome, w

A little dated and racially insensitive, but an interesting bit of social history. The industrial boom that followed WWI brought economic growth but left some behind, especially those whose skills did not match the needs of the growth industries. In an odd way, a feminist book, in that our heroine's

Alice Adams is my least favorite Booth Tarkington. It is four stars, mostly for the clever, low speed turn around ending. Tarkington continues to remind us that: “the familiar coating of smoke and grime... Yet here was not fault of housewifery; the curse could not be lifted, as the ingrained smudges

Winner of the 1922 Pulitzer Prize, this satire of social manners and class climbing tells of the Adams family, a middle-class working couple with two late-teen or twenty-something children, Alice and Walter. Alice tries hard to ingratiate herself into the higher echelons of the town’s society, but i

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