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Paperback Alice Adams Book

ISBN: 197947138X

ISBN13: 9781979471381

Alice Adams

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Like New


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Book Overview

The winner of the 1922 Pulitzer Prize in literature and the subject of several well-received film adaptations, Alice Adams is regarded as one of Booth Tarkington's most accomplished novels. The tale follows the exploits of the plucky young protagonist, who disregards her family's low social standing and pursues love with the well-heeled young man of her dreams.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Timeless novel

I have thought about Alice Adams a lot these two weeks after reading it, and the thought brings a smile to my face. First published in 1920, Alice Adams is a fresh, timeless story because we can see ourselves in it. The characters are what people call "good people," ordinary people who are characterized by pride, greed, deception and revenge. Half way through the book the reader can see what is coming, but Booth Tarkington had a knack for a happy ending, or at least one that leaves the reader satisfied (just as we learned in The Magnificent Ambersons that George was made of the right stuff after all). Booth Tarkington liked people. That shows in his books. He understood human nature, but he liked people. Some demographics might help you evaluate my view of Alice Adams. I am a man who has been a small-town attorney for forty-two years, and I like people.

"Ambition has no rest."

One of the great novels about failed ambition in an attempt to rise above the ordinary. Alice Adams is a dreamer who wants the things her struggling middle-class existence can't provide her, especially college and high-ranking prospects in the romance department. When the wealthy Arthur Russell comes within her sights, she fabricates a web of lies to impress him; but when he attends a family dinner at Alice's home he learns the truth about her real life and her posturing; the results are disastrous for Alice. To make matters even worse, her father is having his own humility issues involving a glue factory he owns and her brother has just stolen $300 from his employer to go gambling with. Alice loses Russell, but also her affectations, and the novel ends with her grimly entering Frincke's Business College. This is Tarkington's best novel, and Alice is certainly his greatest fictional character. She is realistically drawn, and because she is so realistic we sympathize with her and feel every discomfort she experiences along with her. We wish we could get her to stop her pretending, but we know we can't, and sit by helplessly as she destroys all her dreams. We know her behavior is reprehensible and she gets what she deserves, but we can't help but feel sorry for her. It's an engaging novel, and can be read often without ever becoming dull.

Another obscure gem

The Magnificent Ambersons introduced me to the non-Penrose side of Tarkington. "Alice" is a timeless novel of American middle-class youth striving to be something different and their infatuation with wealth and popularity. Brilliant description of how this clouds judgment and leads to self-deception. Another theme is that the daughter achieves a more mature self-awareness when the parents especially the mother release their own self-deceptions. Excellent portrait of growing up in middle class America, the pitfalls and the optimism; still relevant for today. Every high school student should read this book; wait to read Anna Karenina for college. As to another reader's criticism, imagine a mother repeating herself; just inconceivable!


Booth Tarkington is one of my favorite authors. Noone captures the spirit of the person better than he does. The way he makes Alice Adams come alive makes me want to be there and meet this wonderful young lady. If an author can make me want to do that, he is excellent in my book. The movie ending is the opposite of the book ending, which disappointed me, because I wanted it to be true to the book. Nevertheless, I also wanted Alice to have her dreams come true. If you really absorb yourself in the book, however, you will see that her dream DOES come true, just not necessarily the way you want it to.There is also the beautiful way he paints the whole family into the book. I won't give it away, but you will see the intricacies woven in.I found myself totally absorbed in the story and couldn't stop reading it. Please read this book! You will love it!

Funny, sad look at early-century American life

Social-climber Alice Adams is ridiculous, but one can't help but feel for her. Booth Tarkington is one of America's underappreciated authors and Alice Adams is his best. (Note: The movie version starring Katherine Hepburn and Fred MacMurray is excellent, too -- even though a "Hollywood ending" has been tacked on!)
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