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Alice Adams

Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington

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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By Booth Tarkington


The patient, an old fashioned man, thought the nurse made a mistake in keeping both of the windows open, and her sprightly disregard of his protests added something to his hatred of her. Every evening he told her that anybody with ordinary gumption ought to realize that night air was bad for the human frame. "The human frame won't stand everything, Miss Perry," he warned her, resentfully. "Even a child, if it had just ordinary gumption, ought to know enough not to let the night air blow on sick people yes, nor well people, either! 'Keep out of the night air, no matter how well you feel.' That's what my mother used to tell me when I was a boy. 'Keep out of the night air, Virgil,' she'd say. 'Keep out of the night air.'"

"I expect probably her mother told her the same thing," the nurse suggested.

"Of course she did. My grandmother "

"Oh, I guess your GRANDmother thought so, Mr. Adams! That was when all this flat central country was swampish and hadn't been drained off yet. I guess the truth must been the swamp mosquitoes bit people and gave 'em malaria, especially before they began to put screens in their windows... Continue reading book >>

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