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The Innocents

Sinclair Lewis

Book Overview: 

“Mr. and Mrs. Seth Appleby were almost old. They called each other 'Father' and 'Mother.' But frequently they were guilty of holding hands, or of cuddling together in corners, and Father was a person of stubborn youthfulness.” It is only by subterfuge that Seth is able every year to obtain his two week's vacation from the shoe store, and they are off to the farm-house of Uncle Joe Tubbs on Cape Cod. But this year the vacation turns into a full blown scheme to open a country tea room somewhere on Cape Cod, and their life suddenly begins to change.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .It was a lonely countryside; the nearest signs of human life were a church gauntly silhouetted on the hill above Grimsby Center, two miles away, and a life-saving station, squat and sand-colored, slapped down in a hollow of[41] the cliffs. But near the Applebys’ door ran the State road, black and oily and smooth, on which, even at the beginning of the summer season, passed a procession of motors from Boston and Brockton, Newport and New York, all of them unquestionably filled with people who would surely discover that they were famished for tea and preserves and tremendous quantities of sandwiches, as soon as Father and Mother hung out the sign, “The T Room.”

They would open in a day or two, now, when Mother had finished the livid chintz window-curtains. The service-room was already crammed with chairs and tables till it resembled a furniture-store. A maid was established, a Cape Verde Portygee girl from Mashpee. All day long Father had been cop. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Sinclair Lewis is prescient in this book, correctly describing a tea shop with mismatched furniture and dishes like so many modern coffeeshops today. Plus he used the term "hobohemian" to describe a group of artiste poseurs a/k/a hipsters of the early 20th century. Lewis' writing consistently impres

What a surprising ending. What a surprising journey. What a delightful story. This is a good example for those who fall into ruts and routines they think they are incapable of getting out of. Of course, most will stay in their ruts because it is the easiest thing to do.

I love Sinclair Lewis in general, but I just did not enjoy this one very much. The main characters seemed a little too angelic.

This was quite funny in places.

What a nice little story of two lovers. Reminds me of my wife and me.

I wish Sinclair Lewis had written The Grapes of Wrath. The Joads would have found work with a guy who owned a carnival or something, who was passing through California's orchard country just at the right time. Who doesn't like a cheerful ending?

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