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This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most impor This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work. This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.As a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant.

30 review for Seventeen

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gary Inbinder

    “F.S. Fitzgerald has mentioned "Seventeen" in his personal "10 best books" he ever read list as ‘The funniest book I’ve ever read’". Wikipedia That’s quite a plug from a famous fellow Princetonian, but hardly surprising. A hundred years ago, Newton Booth Tarkington was one of America’s most celebrated and prolific authors, winner of two Pulitzer prizes and author of numerous best-sellers. Now, he’s almost forgotten. That’s also hardly surprising. Times and tastes change: All glory is fleeting. Ta “F.S. Fitzgerald has mentioned "Seventeen" in his personal "10 best books" he ever read list as ‘The funniest book I’ve ever read’". Wikipedia That’s quite a plug from a famous fellow Princetonian, but hardly surprising. A hundred years ago, Newton Booth Tarkington was one of America’s most celebrated and prolific authors, winner of two Pulitzer prizes and author of numerous best-sellers. Now, he’s almost forgotten. That’s also hardly surprising. Times and tastes change: All glory is fleeting. Take a look at today’s fiction best-seller lists. A century from now, I believe few if any of those books will have much of a readership and most of their authors will be forgotten. The fact is, many best-selling novels are poorly written hack jobs with formulaic plots. Why do they succeed where others fail? I guess they have the good fortune to catch the wave of current popular taste. When tastes change today’s best-seller becomes tomorrow’s dinosaur. Tarkington was not a hack. On the contrary, The Magnificent Ambersons is a first-rate novel, still worth reading. So, what is wrong with Seventeen? Seventeen’s “problem” can be summed up in one word: nostalgia, and nostalgia is what made the novel so popular when it first appeared in serial form back in 1914 and for many years after. Nostalgia, a wistful, sentimental longing for a “happy” or at worst bittersweet past, sells. Happy Days? The popular sit-com ran from 1974-1984 with its nostalgic look back at teen life in the “Good Old” 1950’s. Was it funny? Yes, until Fonzie jumped the shark. That is to say, the nostalgic formula worked until people got tired of it and “jumping the shark” couldn’t resuscitate the corpse. The 1930’s-early 1940’s Andy Hardy comedies worked too, until Mickey Rooney grew up and started on his first of eight wives (Ava Gardner), and then the series limped along for a while until it died of old age. I’m old enough to remember 1950’s sit-coms like Ozzie and Harriet, The Stu Erwin Show, My Little Margie, and Father Knows Best. Nice light comedies about “average” American families, “average” meaning Middle-Class, Middle-American WASPS who lived in nice little houses, could afford a “colored” maid and handyman, with “average” problems and complications often played for laughs, and a moral at the end. Not a hint of Blackboard Jungle, Rebel Without a Cause, The Wild One, etc. You can follow the fading image of the “average” American family by following the sit-com patriarch’s devolution: Father Knows Best (1950’s) in which he really did know best, with a little help from Mom; All In The Family (1970’s) Father is a lame-brained bigot who, with a little help from Mom and others, very slowly learns the error of his ways; Married With Children (1980’s) Father is a lazy, morally challenged moron; Mom is a lazy, morally challenged moron; the kids are lazy, morally challenged morons. None of them is capable of learning anything and the “moral” is there is no moral. Is Seventeen funny? Yes, if you can stomach the racial and gender stereotypes that are common to the fiction of the period. The laughs are based on the self-consciousness, embarrassment and humiliation of one or more characters. In Seventeen, almost all that humiliation falls on the head of the young protagonist William Sylvanus Baxter, aka Wille or Silly Bill. The novel’s sub-title is A Tale of Youth and Summer Time: And the Baxter Family Especially William. In the summer of 1914 (or thereabouts) in a place resembling Tarkington’s home town (Indianapolis, Indiana) William Baxter and the other young men in his circle of friends and acquaintances are infected with a bad case of puppy love. The cause of the infection, Lola Pratt, is a pretty, fashionable, young lady from out-of-town who goes about with her lap dog, Floppit, and has the annoying habit of babbling baby-talk to both canine and humans: Az ik’le boy Badstuh’ been notty, Fwopitt? Widdle Fwopitt don’ wike mean, notty boyz. (That’s not a direct quote; but you get the picture). Anyway, the boys find this sort of thing charming. Lola is staying with her friend May Parcher, to the consternation of put-upon father Parcher. There are several bits of funny schtick with William’s ten-year-old little sister, Jane. One of the funniest involves her substitution of “word” for “damn” when telling her mother about Mr. Parcher’s overheard rant about all those “word” boys hanging around the unwelcome guest day and night. Style It might seem dated, but for the most part I think the narrative, descriptive writing and dialogue are all quite good. And the plotting and pacing held my interest and kept me reading. The humor is derivative, Mark Twain light. The “dated” stuff is mostly the mock-heroic usage of big, hifalutin’ words to exaggerate the silliness of a particular situation. There are no Good Old Days “There aren't any old times. When times are gone, they're not old, they're dead! There aren't any times but new times!” Those lines are from Tarkington’s masterpiece, The Magnificent Ambersons. That’s the dark side of nostalgia. If you can’t cope with change you turn into one of the walking dead—a zombified individual longing for the “Good Old Days” with selective amnesia regarding all those things about the old days that weren’t so good.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    This book is a hilarious take on adolescence, even after 100 years. You will cringe as it reminds you of the constant humiliations of being young and in love. If you are of a certain parental age, about halfway through you will also wish fervently, along with Mr. Prather, that Miss Pratt would just GO HOME, because only besotted young men could stomach her and her little white dog for an entire three months! There are many laugh-out-loud moments. Tarkington is a deft writer, and the humor comes This book is a hilarious take on adolescence, even after 100 years. You will cringe as it reminds you of the constant humiliations of being young and in love. If you are of a certain parental age, about halfway through you will also wish fervently, along with Mr. Prather, that Miss Pratt would just GO HOME, because only besotted young men could stomach her and her little white dog for an entire three months! There are many laugh-out-loud moments. Tarkington is a deft writer, and the humor comes from his shrewd and sympathetic portrayals of all the characters, who are wittily drawn, from the boy at the center of the universe, to his little sister, his rivals, and the parents, and a host of others. The language is witty, and the comic incidents build and whack you on the side of the head. Particularly the climax at the railway station, and the Big Reveal in the final pages--neither of which I will spoil for you. As with all good novels of manners, the humor arises out of the personalities of the characters, the narrator's wit is sharp, and the author's plot is very well done--each new event comes very naturally out of the main frame of the story: summertime. This is not so much a "beach read" as a "front porch read." Many reviewers mention the issue of the African-American characters--certainly the use of dialect when Genesis and Mr. Genesis speak was ok in its time, and is no longer. For me it reminds me of my Great Uncle, who had attitudes literally from the time in this work, and was an embarrassment to us even in the 50s and 60s. He would have loved the "darky" dialect; I can't imagine anyone ever really spoke like this. Except for the rather unnecessary monologue about catering that was cringe-worthy, though, Genesis was a great character because he is the straight man who sets up the crazed boy to run with his madness. When viewed through a lens of class rather than race, it's sobering to think that we no longer live in communities where the garden help is part of the web of relationships that could be part of an idyllic summertime. They drive in, run their mowers, load up and drive away. They don't bring their loping, comic dogs, or crusty old fathers along and spend time gossiping with little girls and embarrassing our fragile-ego'd teen boys. I don't know if I attached this review to the right "edition": many of these "Kindle" editions have imprints from secondary e-publishers who have appropriated it. I downloaded my e-book from www.gutenberg.org, for free.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    DNF at 100 pages. Mini-review: I don't really know enough about what the literary world was like in 1916 to say whether or not it's surprising that this was the bestselling book of the year. However, it's not at all surprising to me that this book has been forgotten relatively quickly. The book is going for whimsical and insightful, and it lands a lot closer to awkward and simplistic. There was a Wikipedia article that said that anyone over the age of 50 should read this book to remind them of wha DNF at 100 pages. Mini-review: I don't really know enough about what the literary world was like in 1916 to say whether or not it's surprising that this was the bestselling book of the year. However, it's not at all surprising to me that this book has been forgotten relatively quickly. The book is going for whimsical and insightful, and it lands a lot closer to awkward and simplistic. There was a Wikipedia article that said that anyone over the age of 50 should read this book to remind them of what it was like to be a teenager, rather than recommending the book to teenagers themselves. I think this is pretty telling of what you'll find in this book. William's only two character traits are that he's a teenager, and that he's extremely irritable. He's not there to represent an actual teenager - he's a caricature of a teenager that adults can laugh at. The book is barely even about him, even though he's supposed to be the protagonist. His ten year-old sister Jane is in the novel more than he is, and she's a way more interesting character. I might have liked the book a lot better if she was the protagonist, because she is actually a fun character to read about, similarly to how Ramona Quimby is fun to read about. But even if she had been the protagonist, I doubt the book would've been that good, simply because Tarkington is so bad at coming up with funny situations for the characters. I get the impression he was going for something kind of similar to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, something episodic and amusing that also has a larger theme. But it falls very flat, mostly because Tarkington seems to lack imagination as to what the episodes should be like. The episodes here are extremely forgettable, and not even a little funny. This is a pointless little book - its message about adolescence is ruined by how unrealistic William was, and the humor is weakened by how few good ideas Tarkington has. The book has very little to offer to anyone. It's also worth noting that there's quite a bit of very tasteless racism here. And yes, I know, this is a product of its time, you can't hold authors from a hundred years ago to the same standards you'd hold a modern author. But the racism does impact whether or not some people decide to read this book - understandably, I might add - and if you're bothered by that kind of thing, there's not much in here to make it worth the trouble. The prose is alright, and I did enjoy reading about Jane, but other than that, there's no reason to read this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gale

    "NOBODY'S BUSINESS IS SAFE FROM THAT CHILD!" Small town romance is an uphill battle (not to mention source of public amusement) for easily-smitten seventeens in the 19 teens, when everyone knew everyone else's business--especially the protagonist's bratty little sister. It isn't enough that a fellow suffers the social torments of hell in order to impress a visiting bubble blond--his Baby Talk Lady, but that his pecocious younger sibling makes it her summer business to spy on, tattle on and harra "NOBODY'S BUSINESS IS SAFE FROM THAT CHILD!" Small town romance is an uphill battle (not to mention source of public amusement) for easily-smitten seventeens in the 19 teens, when everyone knew everyone else's business--especially the protagonist's bratty little sister. It isn't enough that a fellow suffers the social torments of hell in order to impress a visiting bubble blond--his Baby Talk Lady, but that his pecocious younger sibling makes it her summer business to spy on, tattle on and harrass her haggard brother in his amorous affairs. There is little familial sympathy shown for the young man struggling to beat out the competition to win favor in the eyes of the Most Noble One. Tarkington's world is blissfully naive compared with the dangers and pitfalls of 21st century life for teenagers, yet William's emotional battles remain poingnant, as young love (actually infatuation) undergoes daily upheavals. Relatively clueless as to his motivations and private agonies, his parents exist on another plane--as do many adults in this novel of pre war Americana. The most original character created is that of Genesis, the dishevled Black town handyman, whose very presence--with his mongrel canine companion---causes William frightful embarrassment. Keeping up appearances is critical, as William foolishly allows Clothes to Make (and Break) the Man. The humor comes not only in the pathos of William's extreme efforts and psychological sress, but from the drole style of the narrator's commentary. The story unfolds with little plot but much expenditure of physical and emotional energy. How can William rise above his rivals to capture the heart of the enchanting Miss Pratt in one too-short summer? This summer is anything but short to the female sensation's long-suffering host, who is soon on the brink of breakdown. And through all the anguish caused by Lola's invasion of this small town, Jane eats and sneaks and deliberately torments her bother-- alas, she mostly gets away with it, too! How can a decent fellow court a goddess like Lola, with such disreputable creatures as Genesis and Jane lurking about? This is a delightful pre Happy Days read for kids of all ages--reminding us of the pangs of young love and foibles of youth. As fresh as when it was written by the author of PENROD. (July 26, 2011. I welcome dialogue with teachers.)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    In which a self-important, lovestruck teenager is soundly (though rarely undeservedly, or cruelly for that matter) humiliated at every turn. I've never had the patience for most things written before, say, 1972, and over the past few years I've begun to hate that about myself. I happened to read "Seventeen" aloud to my wife (which has proven to be a more restful pre-slumber activity than watching "The Two Coreys"), and we laughed and were terrifically entertained throughout, despite deep, old-ti In which a self-important, lovestruck teenager is soundly (though rarely undeservedly, or cruelly for that matter) humiliated at every turn. I've never had the patience for most things written before, say, 1972, and over the past few years I've begun to hate that about myself. I happened to read "Seventeen" aloud to my wife (which has proven to be a more restful pre-slumber activity than watching "The Two Coreys"), and we laughed and were terrifically entertained throughout, despite deep, old-timey text that I would have dinkishly glazed over were I reading it silently to myself. Tarkington had a very dry, impish sense of humor that put me in mind of Garrison Keillor, whose "Book of Guys" I'd recently also read aloud and liked a lot. (I understand a more fitting contemporary to mention here would have been Mark Twain, but as he never wrote any Choose Your Own Adventure books I've been forced to leave him off my summer reading list). We were quite sad to see "Seventeen" end, but on the plus side it did allow us to start reading "The Dirt" by Motley Crue, so all in all, a bittersweet departure. In conclusion, reading old books aloud helps if you're a history-hating ding-dong like myself. Also, Booth Tarkington was a funny guy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    3.5 stars. This is another one of Tarkington's fluffy humorous confections—very much like Gentle Julia, with its themes of infatuated young suitor and mischievous young relative, except that the primary characters are even sillier, if such a thing is possible. Light on plot, but with plenty of irresistibly hilarious moments and passages that made me laugh out loud—perfect for a summer afternoon's reading. 3.5 stars. This is another one of Tarkington's fluffy humorous confections—very much like Gentle Julia, with its themes of infatuated young suitor and mischievous young relative, except that the primary characters are even sillier, if such a thing is possible. Light on plot, but with plenty of irresistibly hilarious moments and passages that made me laugh out loud—perfect for a summer afternoon's reading.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    This is one of the funniest books ever. He nails perfectly a seventeen year old young man - no matter the time period.

  8. 5 out of 5

    P.

    Interesting fast read. While there is some popular notion that "teenager" first became a category in the 1950s, this book would seem to refute that. The last chapter is just a little too precious for the rest of the book in my mind. The vocabulary seems much more advanced than I would expect of a present day book with a similar level of plot complexity (perhaps that's just me reading my own preconceptions of the era into the book?). This gave me more insight into the "college widow" character in Interesting fast read. While there is some popular notion that "teenager" first became a category in the 1950s, this book would seem to refute that. The last chapter is just a little too precious for the rest of the book in my mind. The vocabulary seems much more advanced than I would expect of a present day book with a similar level of plot complexity (perhaps that's just me reading my own preconceptions of the era into the book?). This gave me more insight into the "college widow" character in the Marx Brothers' film "Horsefeathers". Evidently they were actually making fun of an archetype there...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    Unable to finish. Which was disappointing: I rather enjoyed "The Maginificent Ambersons." The writing style in this one was, for me, unbearable. Tarkington takes the long way around to say the most mundane things; it was quite irritating. Unable to finish. Which was disappointing: I rather enjoyed "The Maginificent Ambersons." The writing style in this one was, for me, unbearable. Tarkington takes the long way around to say the most mundane things; it was quite irritating.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This has been one of my favorite books since I was 10 years old. Even though it was written in the early 1900's I still find it so witty and funny. This has been one of my favorite books since I was 10 years old. Even though it was written in the early 1900's I still find it so witty and funny.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Phebe

    If only there were more stars...one of the funniest books ever (though due to some less-than-PC characterizations one must remember the time period it was written in).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ted Morgan

    My mother gave me this to read when I was sixteen or seventeen. I did not get her irony but I loved the book. I knew about romantic obsession.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Whyte

    http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2736686.html Seventeen: A Tale Of Youth And Summer Time And The Baxter Family Especially William was the best-selling novel in America a hundred years ago, in 1916. If its author is remembered at all today, it is for The Magnificent Ambersons which came out in 1918, won the Pulitzer Prize and was adapted to become an Orson Welles film in 1942. Seventeen was also filmed, in 1940, starring Jackie Cooper and Betty Field though not in their best known roles. (I note that http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2736686.html Seventeen: A Tale Of Youth And Summer Time And The Baxter Family Especially William was the best-selling novel in America a hundred years ago, in 1916. If its author is remembered at all today, it is for The Magnificent Ambersons which came out in 1918, won the Pulitzer Prize and was adapted to become an Orson Welles film in 1942. Seventeen was also filmed, in 1940, starring Jackie Cooper and Betty Field though not in their best known roles. (I note that one of the minor parts is played by a "Hal Clement"; presumably not the sf author, who would have been a Harvard undergraduate in 1940.) Anyway, it is the story of seventeen-year-old William Baxter of an unnamed town in Indiana (though Tarkington was an Indianapolis man), during a summer when the lovely Lola Pratt comes to stay with the neighbours, and William along with the other seventeen-year-old boys of the neighbourhood decides to pay court to her. I was rather turned off by the book at first because William is pretty callow even for a seventeen-year-old in literature, and Lola, whose entire conversation consists of baby talk with her dog, is even worse. There's also some good ol' racism in the treatment of the local black odd-job man, Genesis. But actually once I got into it, I started to appreciate some of the characters a bit more - William's mother, who tries to mediate between her son's actuakl and perceived needs, and especially Lola's host, Mr Parcher, who is at the sharp end of observing her infantile behaviour and her court of admirers. There's a lovely moment for him at the end of Chapter 27, as the farewell party for Lola reaches its end: At half past one the orchestra played “Home, Sweet Home.” As the last bars sounded, a group of earnest young men who had surrounded the lovely guest of honor, talking vehemently, broke into loud shouts, embraced one another and capered variously over the lawn. Mr. Parcher beheld from a distance these manifestations, and then, with an astonishment even more profound, took note of the tragic William, who was running toward him, radiant—Miss Boke hovering futilely in the far background. “What’s all the hullabaloo?” Mr. Parcher inquired. “Miss Pratt!” gasped William. “Miss Pratt!” “Well, what about her?” And upon receiving William’s reply, Mr. Parcher might well have discerned behind it the invisible hand of an ironic but recompensing Providence making things even—taking from the one to give to the other. “She’s going to stay!” shouted the happy William. “She’s promised to stay another week!” And then, mingling with the sounds of rejoicing, there ascended to heaven the stricken cry of an elderly man plunging blindly into the house in search of his wife. And even the treatment of Genesis improves, especially as William's annoying (but much more sensible) little sister Jane becomes an ally in subverting her brother's plans. At the same time, it's curiously innocent in some ways. William's parents' worst fear is that he might take it into his head to elope with Lola and marry her, a possibility of which he is only vaguely aware and in which she appears utterly uninterested. The prospect of pregnancy (let alone contraception) is simply not mentioned, except when Genesis reminisces to the uncomprehending Jane and William about his early life. (Later in 1916, Joyce published a book in which his teenage protagonist has sex.) Although William and his rivals are supposedly in their later teens, they are somewhat infantilised - and Lola even more so. And the author's humour at the expense of Youth tends uncomfortably towards sneering rather than gentle. Anyway, I've read this, so you don't have to. It is mercifully short.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bryon Butler

    Looking back, Seventeen is a yuk-yuk from another time. The best-selling novel of 1916, it tells of 17-year old William Baxter’s summer pining for the unreachable Lola Pratt. The story is a lampoon, yet now, more so, is a period piece of middle-class, mid-western family life and mores in the time preceding World War I I am a Booth Tarkington fan. I’ve read The Turmoil and The Magnificent Ambersons, both of which show how 20th century industry destabilized the status-quo of cities, and prominent f Looking back, Seventeen is a yuk-yuk from another time. The best-selling novel of 1916, it tells of 17-year old William Baxter’s summer pining for the unreachable Lola Pratt. The story is a lampoon, yet now, more so, is a period piece of middle-class, mid-western family life and mores in the time preceding World War I I am a Booth Tarkington fan. I’ve read The Turmoil and The Magnificent Ambersons, both of which show how 20th century industry destabilized the status-quo of cities, and prominent families, ending a serene way of life romanticized by Tarkington. I read his posthumously collected memoirs, America Moved. Each show a way of life long gone, with folkways of another time both relived and loved. Seventeen follows this, with ice-cream parlors, home parlors, proper clothing, detachable collars, a fixed class system between whites, and whites and blacks (the racism is strong in Seventeen), train stations, and more, exhibited throughout the chapters. And, although William is 17, he is not a “teenager” as that term was not coined until the 1930s and accepted into English later on. The characters are amusing, even funny in the case of Lola Pratt. The use of Jane, William’s ten-year-old sister who moves the narrative along, is a solid plot device. William himself is well-written as a budding young man befuddled and hapless when competing against his friends for Lola’s attention. The chapter where he never makes it downstairs to the parlor, where Lola and the others wait as his special guests, due to his paralyzing fear of making sure everything is perfect, is excellent, and does bring back some memories of my own foibles, in another time, when courting what I thought was love. Some reviews, and reviewers, have expressed that the book accurately shows what a lovelorn condition will do the psyche of a 17-year old. My teenage years were different, and that was before social media. Yet, one line “At seventeen such things are not embarrassing; they are catastrophical”, rings true, as I recall. And by recalling I’ve entered the world of Mr. Baxter, William’s father who, though sympathetic, does not understand, nor really remember, the heart of age 17. The book’s end, with William’s taking care of Jane once again, and its creative leap into the future, is creative and works well. All that William found important would change in a few short years. It is a truth only a reader who’d lived this, in any age, could know

  15. 4 out of 5

    Melody Michelle

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. First, I would like to admit this review is probably too harsh. This is not a bad book. I just didn't personally enjoy it. I choose to give this book a two star review (instead of one) because the author was able to create believable characters that somehow managed to provoke me to a state of aggravation... I did not enjoy reading this book for the following reasons: the main character, colloquial language and the inconsistent view from the author. The main character, William Baxter, is in a const First, I would like to admit this review is probably too harsh. This is not a bad book. I just didn't personally enjoy it. I choose to give this book a two star review (instead of one) because the author was able to create believable characters that somehow managed to provoke me to a state of aggravation... I did not enjoy reading this book for the following reasons: the main character, colloquial language and the inconsistent view from the author. The main character, William Baxter, is in a constant state of teen angst and is wealthy source of mind-numbing whining. He discredits his whole family as thorns to his existence and shows nothing but irritation to them. In fact, he stays irritated with all but one character (Lola, who is as equally frustrating to read about), his romantic interest. In his earnest irritation he shouts and complains with little to no rational argument. After a few pages of enduring his 'mood', it's hard to feel empathy for what seems to be his failing romance. His love interest, Lola, talks in "baby talk" as the author calls it. Not only is it frustrating to read, it's actually hard to interpret. Aside from "baby talk" there are also pages of conversation featuring confusing colloquial language with purposely misspelled words. The misspelling occurs so often in these pages that it becomes distracting from the dialogue and ultimately distracts from the story. In some instances the author actually explains the intention of the characters apart from their dialogue. Tarkington writes about the emotions that the character is feeling and about the thoughts behind those feelings. However, in some instances Tarkington claims to have no idea what the characters could possibly be feeling or thinking. It's as if he shifts between the role of the story teller, and the role of a simple observer. This shift bothers me probably more than it should. Okay, that is my rant. Whew

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bookworm

    Well, I was uncertan whether or not I liked this book well enough to keep, but after the ending I think I will! A colorful and most hilarious account of a young man hopelessly in love at the tender age of seventeen with a Summer guest. Oh, some of these observations Tarkington made of youth I can blushingly relate to.. A couple things I didn't care for: William. I did not really like the main characters for most of the book, and to me William was just a whiny spoiled and snobbish boy. Not much Well, I was uncertan whether or not I liked this book well enough to keep, but after the ending I think I will! A colorful and most hilarious account of a young man hopelessly in love at the tender age of seventeen with a Summer guest. Oh, some of these observations Tarkington made of youth I can blushingly relate to.. A couple things I didn't care for: William. I did not really like the main characters for most of the book, and to me William was just a whiny spoiled and snobbish boy. Not much sympathy for him here.. in fact, I was inclined to be gleeful at his falls. Lola. Why is it Booth Tarkington likes to include so much baby-talk in his books among the fairer sex?! Did women habitally talk like that where he came from? *shudder. She was concieted and as heartless as Helen of Troy. The parents' let the kids run things a little too much. I would have set my foot down a lot sooner and a lot harder than they were-these kids are only sixteen to seventeen generally! The boys smoking, and the girl encouraging them. I did not like that part at all, and thought it made Lola even more cheap. Things I liked: Jane. The little informer, who continaully consumes (or so it seems), slabs of bread with apple jelly and powder sugar, and wafer cookies. I got a serious case of munchies whenever she was around... seriously though, she was sweet and funny! Mrs. Baxter-Jane's feminine allie. She was quite a sweetheart. Genesis: the colored hired man. He was a dear. His and Jane's dialogue was quite engaging.:) Willie almost made me toss the book aside, but when I got to the end, it was so cute and perfect I have to keep it!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rusty

    Fun read! This little book by Tarkington explores the humor in a first romantic experience of a seventeen-year-old boy's life. Recalling my own first love, I found myself empathizing with William at times. If it weren't for the traumatic feelings of first love and what happens that seems so tragic in the eyes of the teenager, one could laugh through the entire book. At times, however, I found myself wincing as circumstances contrived against William. I enjoyed the characters so much. His pesky l Fun read! This little book by Tarkington explores the humor in a first romantic experience of a seventeen-year-old boy's life. Recalling my own first love, I found myself empathizing with William at times. If it weren't for the traumatic feelings of first love and what happens that seems so tragic in the eyes of the teenager, one could laugh through the entire book. At times, however, I found myself wincing as circumstances contrived against William. I enjoyed the characters so much. His pesky little sister, Jane, whose antics seem so unacceptable to William; his father who has forgotten what first love it must have been like; and his mother, who understands more than she reveals, round out the cast of key characters. I found the object of William's romantic fantasies to be shallow and unbearable much of the time but I do remember teenager girls much like Miss Pratt. The most humorous episode is when William's mother plans a little party for William, his friends and Miss Pratt. William's attempts to prepare for a perfect entrance cause him to miss the event. It's memorable. Yes, the author is better known for other work, namely his Pulitzer Prize-winning novels The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams. However, this one is worth the time to read it if you are up for a book that recalls your own bumbling attempts with a first romance. I liked it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jason Bradley Thompson

    A slight but entertaining romantic comedy about a white teenager in pre-WWI America who has a crush on a ditzy girl and who thinks his parents are embarrassing old dorks. Snarkily observing his main character with an aloof authorial eye, Tarkington accurately captures the know-it-allness of being a teenage boy, which apparently was pretty much the same in 1910 as now, as were the emo passions of young love (albeit without sex, alcohol, unchaperoned car rides or heavy petting... apparently people A slight but entertaining romantic comedy about a white teenager in pre-WWI America who has a crush on a ditzy girl and who thinks his parents are embarrassing old dorks. Snarkily observing his main character with an aloof authorial eye, Tarkington accurately captures the know-it-allness of being a teenage boy, which apparently was pretty much the same in 1910 as now, as were the emo passions of young love (albeit without sex, alcohol, unchaperoned car rides or heavy petting... apparently people back then did a lot of social dancing instead.) On the whole, it's a sweet, silly story. The one big stain on the book, for modern readers, is the racist portrayal of black characters as "fo' sho"-talkin', Step'n Fetchit servant stereotypes; this period racism exists in all of Tarkington's work that I've read, but in "Seventeen" the blundering dumbness of the black characters is a major plot device, instead of just a regrettable background detail like in, say, "The Magnificent Ambersons."

  19. 5 out of 5

    Martha

    The first book (downloaded free) that I read on my new Kindle. A hilarious story about the magic and misery of a teenage boy's first love for a girl visiting from out of town. Seventeen-year-old William Baxter's adolescent emotions are authentically and comcially intense, as is his self-absorption, which leads him to steal his father's dress suit in order to impress Lola Pratt, the baby-talking object of his affections. Willie's reverie is constantly contaminated by doses of reality supplied by The first book (downloaded free) that I read on my new Kindle. A hilarious story about the magic and misery of a teenage boy's first love for a girl visiting from out of town. Seventeen-year-old William Baxter's adolescent emotions are authentically and comcially intense, as is his self-absorption, which leads him to steal his father's dress suit in order to impress Lola Pratt, the baby-talking object of his affections. Willie's reverie is constantly contaminated by doses of reality supplied by his obnoxious little sister, his doting mother, his strict father, and Lola's ever-increasing pack of smitten suitors. Modern readers will be shocked by the depiction of African American characters, which reflects the attitudes of Tarkington's times. But the agonies of adolescence are timeless, and Tarkington's charming 1916 novel has captured them with high style.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kathie

    I stumbled on to this book quite by accident and I am so glad I did. The focus of the book are the travails of William Baxter, an infatuated, self-important teenager when a lovely but unbearable, baby-talking visitor, Miss Pratt, comes to the small town for the summer. William is constantly in crisis or a state of irritation. Whether it is caused by himself or embarrassment from his dirty faced, constantly eating, spying, and tattling little sister, Jane, or from the Black handyman, Genesis, emp I stumbled on to this book quite by accident and I am so glad I did. The focus of the book are the travails of William Baxter, an infatuated, self-important teenager when a lovely but unbearable, baby-talking visitor, Miss Pratt, comes to the small town for the summer. William is constantly in crisis or a state of irritation. Whether it is caused by himself or embarrassment from his dirty faced, constantly eating, spying, and tattling little sister, Jane, or from the Black handyman, Genesis, employed by his family. Written at a time when there was little emphasis on being politically correct, some readers may find portions offensive. It is, however, a masterful, humorous story with a surprise ending. I’ll be looking for other Tarkington books.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Norma Christensen

    I began thinking about Seventeen as my grandchildren are arriving and leaving that crucial age. I thought I may have read this book when I was young, but I can't remember it at all. I even wonder if I may have an old copy at home lurking in the midst of my other teenage books. I loved this book and the essence of Seventeen that the writer captures. At Seventeen, everything is a crisis in our lives and the world may end at any minute. The writing was suburb. The characters were tremendous and aliv I began thinking about Seventeen as my grandchildren are arriving and leaving that crucial age. I thought I may have read this book when I was young, but I can't remember it at all. I even wonder if I may have an old copy at home lurking in the midst of my other teenage books. I loved this book and the essence of Seventeen that the writer captures. At Seventeen, everything is a crisis in our lives and the world may end at any minute. The writing was suburb. The characters were tremendous and alive and that story line was so fun and amusing. I will read more Booth Tarkington if I can find some!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Penny

    This was a delightful book - my edition was not listed but was copyright 2006 by BiblioBazaar which must be for high school or college required reading. Otherwise I cannot imagine today's youth reading this book. Written in 1916, the language and mores of the time are evident. The humor is not necessarily slapstick or laugh-out-loud; nevertheless I did laugh out loud in one scene in Chapter X. This story could very well be made into a movie, preferably black and white, with a voice narrating som This was a delightful book - my edition was not listed but was copyright 2006 by BiblioBazaar which must be for high school or college required reading. Otherwise I cannot imagine today's youth reading this book. Written in 1916, the language and mores of the time are evident. The humor is not necessarily slapstick or laugh-out-loud; nevertheless I did laugh out loud in one scene in Chapter X. This story could very well be made into a movie, preferably black and white, with a voice narrating some scenes so that the author's original words would be heard. If you enjoy stepping into another time and place, you might easily enjoy this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    There’s a reason The Magnificant Ambersons won the Pulitzer and this one didn’t. Certainly bits were funny, but on the whole this was more mean-spirited than I expected. There were no likable characters besides Mrs. Baxter in my opinion, and I tended to agree with Willie that Jane needs some discipline and parenting. Dialogue was hard to understand in most parts: Miss Pratt speaks in babytalk and it does not transcribe well at all. Too much exposition and faaaaar too many adjectives. I almost fe There’s a reason The Magnificant Ambersons won the Pulitzer and this one didn’t. Certainly bits were funny, but on the whole this was more mean-spirited than I expected. There were no likable characters besides Mrs. Baxter in my opinion, and I tended to agree with Willie that Jane needs some discipline and parenting. Dialogue was hard to understand in most parts: Miss Pratt speaks in babytalk and it does not transcribe well at all. Too much exposition and faaaaar too many adjectives. I almost felt like this was a completely different writer than The Magnificent Ambersons or Alice Adams.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elysa

    This book is incredibly funny, but because of when it was written, it's also very racist. This book is incredibly funny, but because of when it was written, it's also very racist.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Lahn

    This book is one of the funniest books I've read in ages. Perfectly captures the joy and pain of being a teenager "in love." It's true, at times it was painfully ignorant of modern attitudes towards race, but at its heart this is a story as relatable today as it was when it was first a bestseller 100 years ago. Highly recommended. This book is one of the funniest books I've read in ages. Perfectly captures the joy and pain of being a teenager "in love." It's true, at times it was painfully ignorant of modern attitudes towards race, but at its heart this is a story as relatable today as it was when it was first a bestseller 100 years ago. Highly recommended.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Trudy Ackerblade

    This was a fabulous book. It was published nearly 100 years ago and proves that people have always been very funny, especially young men in love and their pesky little sisters. There are many, many smiles and laughs in this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    Gleefully mocks the self-importance and stupidity of teenagers. I loved it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Deb.mcquillangmail.com

    Delightful book of young love!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lory Masters

    Brings you back to a long lost time in America.

  30. 4 out of 5

    John Mccullough

    Tarkington was widely praised for his portrayal of life in the early 20th century Midwestern US. He was a staunch Republican conservative, a sworn and vocal critic of President FDR and his New Deal. He is also only one of three authors to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature twice, for “The Magnificent Ambersons” and “Alice Adams.” Today he is hardly remembered. I intend to tackle his more serious works in the coming year to see if this neglect is warranted. “Seventeen” is consumed with the agon Tarkington was widely praised for his portrayal of life in the early 20th century Midwestern US. He was a staunch Republican conservative, a sworn and vocal critic of President FDR and his New Deal. He is also only one of three authors to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature twice, for “The Magnificent Ambersons” and “Alice Adams.” Today he is hardly remembered. I intend to tackle his more serious works in the coming year to see if this neglect is warranted. “Seventeen” is consumed with the agony and ecstasy of being a teen-ager in love. William Sylvanus Baxter – Willie or Silly Willie – meets a young lady visiting all Summer his near neighbor, May Parcher. Miss Lola Pratt, the visiting object of Willie’s affections, talks incessantly in “baby-talk.” As in “P’eshus Flopit all soap-water-wash clean. Ickle dirly all muddy-nassy! Ickle girly must doe home, det all soap-water-wash clean like nice ickle sissa…..” Arggh! Awful to have to read it and pick one’s way to understand what the infantile Miss Pratt has said. Actually she has said nothing, but Willie cannot get enough of her and her speech. His worship of her is just another indication that we are not dealing with an adult in almost any sense. The book uses the “N” word, or “darky,” in some select contexts; the “N” word is used by the main antagonist, Silly Willie, I believe to bring forth one more bit of evidence that Willie is an arrogant, lazy, spoiled brat, even at age seventeen. When written, it was permissible but today just seems an unnecessary irritant for the reader. Genesis, the African-American character, is portrayed as a classic Uncle Remus – old, illiterate, loyal, wise and speaking in stereotypic sort-of English. Accurate for the period? Maybe. Today, it is hard to say, but it was acceptable to the literate reading public of 1917. How times have changed – for the better – and for all. I understand a new edition of “Penrod” was recently published with this disturbing language purged. “Seventeen” is more of a lark rather than serious, halfway between his social critiques and his popular “Penrod” series. It invokes some of the worst of our teenage lives. Just when you want to laugh at Willie you may have to cringe, in part for Willie and sometimes when the incident draws you back to our own teen years and you try not to remember that you might have committed something similar. Tarkington writes well so the reading goes fast. If you need light reading and are curious about life in about 1915, this might be an acceptable read.

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