Alice Adams

Alice Adams

by Booth Tarkington


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Alice Adams, the daughter of middle-class parents, wants desperately to belong with the people of "high society" who live in her town. Ultimately, her ambitions are tempered by the realities of her situation, which she learns to accept with grace and style. Alice's resiliency of spirit makes her one of Booth Tarkington's most compelling characters. A fascinating story that won the Pulitzer Prize.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780368263811
Publisher: Blurb
Publication date: 10/02/2019
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.27(d)

About the Author

Newton Booth Tarkington (1869 - 1946) was an American novelist and dramatist best known for his Pulitzer Prize winning novels The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams, which also became a film by Orson Welles. He is one of only three novelists to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once, along with William Faulkner and John Updike. Tarkington chronicled Midwestern American life and the changes wrought by the economic boom times following the Civil War and up to World War I.

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Alice Adams 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
puzzleman More than 1 year ago
I've never seen a book of fiction printed this way. Quite unique. I found the story often amusing, though sometimes hard to follow. Poor Mr. Adams was beset with health and spousal issues, but he is fortunate to have an understanding employer. His daughter, the star of this show, has to grow up. It can be difficult, but it works out. This could easily be quite depressing, but the writing is light.
pdebolt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Alice Adams is the story of a young woman from a family of modest means who yearns to "belong," as does her mother. Set in the 1920s, Alice's life is filled with, and defined by, an awareness of how she is perceived by her peers. As in the Magnificent Ambersons and Dreiser's An American Tragedy, life revolves around social status and we observe these pretentious struggles with embarassment and compassion. I wonder after reading this book how many people in the early 21st century still attempt to be part of a group that judges them by such shallow values and hope we have evolved into a more caring society.
mikedraper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's the turn of the 20th century in the industrialized midwest. Alice Adams is a young woman of age twenty-two. She's from a middle class family but has ambitons to rise up in society.The difficulty is that her family doesn't have the financial means to provide her with the necessities to compete with the other women she wants to impress. For the dance at her friend's home, she doesn't have a date and coerces her brother, Walter, to escourt her. She wears a dress that is already owned but her mother fixes it up by adding some lace to it. She can't afford flowers from a florist but goes out and picks violets and wears them, by the time the dance is held, the violets are withered and dead.The main theme of the novel is getting ahead in life, moving up in the financial and social hieracy that exists.Alice is reminiscent of Charlotte in "Gone With The Wind' in her attempts to get ahead in society. She also wants to capture the most eligible bachelor, even if that person is promised to another. Her father, Virgil, is a more sympathetic character. He seemed content in his life but is persuaded to give up his contentment and attempt to follow his wife's dream. She wants him to go after an invention that he was partly responsible for, even at the betrayal of his former employer and trusting friend.
curls_99 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Alice Adams is Booth Tarkington's second Pulitzer Prize novel. I thoroughly enjoyed Tarkington's The Magnificent Ambersons, and so I looked forward to this read. While Alice Adams was interesting and another good commentary of the pretentiousness of society during the Victorian era, the story was too similar to The Magnificent Ambersons.Where The Magnificent Ambersons focused on a wealthy family who slowly began to loose their wealth and status and did everything they could to keep up appearances of wealth, Alice Adams is about a family who could not quite keep up with all of the wealthy families in town and did everything to appear that they could.It seems to me that there were many books written on this subject matter in the early 20th century. Feelings of disillusionment following World War I drove many authors to be highly critical of society prior to The Great War. What interests me is that this is something we are dealing with today. The skyrocketing numbers of foreclosures on homes is the result of people taking out loans that they can't afford so they can live somewhere that will make them look like they have more money than they do. People choose to spend their money on things like expensive cars or clothing instead of paying off ever-increasing credit card bills. Why? So they people who they probably don't like anyway will accept them. Aren't we humans interesting creatures?Read this book or any of the others, but don't judge their society too harshly unless you are willing to look at our own society in the same way.
Joycepa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Alice Adams is a morality tale about a socially ambitious young woman and her family in a Midwestern city. The family is middle-class, and sliding down in the economic scale. The father has worked in the same job for 20 years and is content. The mother, ambitious for her children, bitterly blames the father for not having made more of himself, for not thinking of his children¿s social futures and therefore not having any gumption to do better. Her entire life is focused on her children, especially Alice, being part of upper-class society. The mother is convinced that money and money alone will make the difference and constantly badgers the father to do better.Alice pours nearly all her energy into making a good ¿catch¿. Quite popular a few years ago, the gentleman callers have vanished. Still, she practices gestures and facial expressions in front of the mirror, works hard at making over clothes (actually, dictating directions to her mother) to keep fashionable, spending all she can on accessories and clothes. She visits a well-to-do friend and basically worms her way into receiving invitations to society events.Her brother Walter is a bitter young man who hates the situation in which he finds himself, loathes the `swells¿ that Alice courts so assiduously, and hangs around with a crowd that his mother in particular finds appalling.A new young man comes to town and is attracted to Alice, who goes all out to land him. But as we see increasingly in her dialogue with him, she misrepresents herself and her family and is terrified of what he will find out from his well-connected society relations.Meanwhile, her father, goaded beyond endurance by the nagging mother, decides to leave the firm for which he has worked and start a glue factory, using a formula that can be rightly said to belong to his former employer. The book has a double climax: a dinner party given by the mother for Alice¿s young man and the outcome of the father¿s business enterprise. There are no surprises here¿in a morality tale, the outcomes are guaranteed. That wouldn¿t be a problem if the book were as well written as The Magnificent Ambersons, but in my opinion, it isn¿t. The Magnificent Ambersons was a complex story, enriched by Tarkington¿s observations on the transformation of a small Midwestern town into an industrialized city and the social changes that accompanied the growth. Alice Adams has a much narrower focus, and while the writing at times is excellent¿the description of the dinner party is superb¿there is no tension to the story because the reader knows perfectly well how it has to end. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for 1922, it really suffers by comparison, both in plot, style, and excellence in writing by the previous winner, The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. It¿s a good read if your goal is to read the Pulitzer winners. Otherwise, I feel it¿s not worth the effort.
LibrarysCat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read this book many times and loved it each time. Alice tries so hard to fit in with the upper crust and fails miserably. She is a very likable character in spite of her lies and manipulations.
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