My students asked me the other day why we have different accents in the US. And I said that’s a complicated question but one of the answers is because different parts of the country were inhabited by immigrants from different parts of the world, for different reasons. They also didn’t believe me or conceive of the idea that even though cultures and ethnicities were quite old in Europe, a lot of countries were not. About a 75% chance I mention to them that the main non-American family in this story is from Bohemia.
When I was younger there was a tv movie made of this novel starring Doogie Howser. It’s weird now that he’s actually way more famous in his own right, but when I was 13 I didn’t really know the difference. I watched it and it was so so so sentimental that I didn’t want to really read this novel for a long time. It is sentimental but it’s strange because the person doing the sentimenting is the one who actually doesn’t really live his life, not compared to the object of his sentimentality.
Otherwise, this is a like an updated Little House on the Prairie with a lot more sass going on. Written in 1918, there’s a pretty decent amount of salaciousness, or implied salaciousness in this book. Girls are constantly being warned about “getting into trouble” and men are constantly the ones being let off the hook for it. There’s even kind of a wet dream…..it’s not explicit, but it’s there.
Regardless, it’s a good novel and way more enjoyable and readable than I had thought it was going to be. I still understand why I hesitated, but like with most novels, being much older than when I first had a copy of it probably means I got a lot more out of it.