Friday, June 27, 2014

Best Book Quotes.

Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly

the shade

"My mother always lies down in the afternoon—at least, she has for the past three years, anyway. Right after lunch she went upstairs as always, turned down the chenille bedspread and drew the shades. Out on the side lawn in the shade of the house Kitty was sewing doll clothes and talking to herself in a quiet, little-girl singsong. From Callahan’s, across the back garden, I could hear the drone of the baseball game on the radio. All the little children were in taking their naps and already our street had settled into the quiet of afternoon. I’d have to ask my mother soon for I knew that in a few moments she would be asleep.
Outside her bedroom door I paused. “Maybe I’d better count up to seventeen first,” I thought. “Seventeen and then I’ll ask her.” So I counted slowly, deliberately, being careful not to skip. When I was younger I used to count up to fifteen while trying to decide things, then it was sixteen, and now it was seventeen—one count for each year. But when I got to seventeen I still hadn’t figured out in my mind how I should say it. “Better count up to eighteen,” I decided. “Eighteen because that’s how old Jack is. After that I’ll go in for sure.”
My mother was almost asleep when I pushed open the door gently, lying on top of the blankets with my old blue flannel bathrobe thrown over her. Sunlight filtered through the drawn shades in a brownish-yellow glow and the crocheted circle used to pull them down twirled in the breeze. I swallowed hard and it made a noise in the quietness of the room.
“Mom,” I ventured, “a boy asked me for a date tonight.” She opened her eyes. “It will be all right and I’ll be home early,” I assured her hastily. “He’ll come over first and you can meet him and make sure it’s all right. They’re nice people—he plays basketball and his father owns the DeLuxe bakery.” I rushed the words after each other without stopping, before she could say no.
Rolling over toward the wall and nuzzling her head into the pillow she asked sleepily, “What’s his name? I don’t think I ever heard you mention him, did I?”
“Jack Duluth,” I answered and waited. The room was quiet except for the sound of the window shade flapping in the breeze.
“Duluth as in Minnesota?” Lorraine called out. She was in her own room down the hall taking the curlers out of her hair. She keeps them in all the time except when she’s going out. Lorraine wears her hair very long with just a little fluffy curl on the end like they all do in college. But already my mother was breathing lightly as if she were asleep.
“Mom,” I said quietly, trying to keep the impatience out of my voice—my mother doesn’t like it if we tease, “can I go or can’t I? It will be all right—really it will.”
“See what your sister thinks,” she answered. “I suppose it’s all right if you’re home early. And see if you can fix that window shade so it doesn’t flap so—put a book on the cord or something.”

first kiss

"And then, I, Angie Morrow, who had never done anything like this before, who until last Monday night had never even had a real date, could feel his cheek on mine, as warm and soft as peach fuzz. And I knew if I moved my face just a little, just a very little... 
In the movies they always shut their eyes but I didn't. I didn't think of anything like that, though I do remember a quick thought passing through my mind again about how much he smelled like Ivory soap when his face was so close to mine....I remember that behind him was the thin, yellow arc of moon, turned over on its back, and I remember feeling my hands slowly relax on the rough lapels of his coat. 
Sitting on the cool grass in my new sprigged dimity with the little blue and white bachelor's buttons pinned in my hair, Jack kissed me and his lips were as smooth and baby-soft as a new raspberry."

Ahhhh....I was a dreamy teenager....that was as lovely and romantic as it got back there in the innocent 40's. It suited me just fine in the 70's. 
I read this whole book out loud to my sister and some friends one summer night. We were sleeping out in the back yard. 

This is how we would sleep out; Grab the t.v., a radio, a light, sleeping bags and pillows and sleep right there on the cement patio. We would fall asleep after midnight and wake wet with dew on our faces and sleeping bags at sunrise. 

A funny aside...I have reread Seventeenth Summer with Emma and Katie and was so surprised by the smoking and beer drinking in the book. 

I mostly remember the innocence and nostalgia of the book. I remember Angie's mother napping in the afternoons while the shades tapped gently against the window sill  and I remember her little sister playing on the sidewalk. And I remember her boyfriend Jack...who is a baker's son. 

I happened to be a baker's daughter at the time....and I later married a baker. 


p.s. I love this book.


  1. Dreamy is the perfect word for these book quotes today. And what lovely memories you've shared with us too!

    I love the luxurious feeling of a summer afternoon nap. Ahhhhh. Thanks for this, Donna.

    1. Anonymous10:41 AM

      LIKE : )

      Sarah P. from Iowa

      I took a nap yesterday afternoon. It was bliss.

  2. Wow. I really need to read that book. Sounds like another one of my favorites...The Pink Dress...from that era, anyway.

    1. The pink dress was my fave too AND impossible to find!!! It a cult fave and is out of print, copies go for hundreds$$$

    2. Oh, I know! My mom thought she'd be super sweet and get me one for Christmas one year. Apparently, she thought $600 was too much to spend on a book. ;-)

    3. Holy macaroni!! I took a peek at Amazon ... that's a pricey book!!

      It goes to show that some things become precious with time, like ideals and nostalgia, and plain old goodness.

  3. Anonymous11:18 AM

    Ah, the books of the summers of our youth are such fond memories. I read Gone With the Wind one summer and all the Janet Lambert and Rosamond du Jardin books I could find to buy or check out of the library. You have such a lovely reading manner and voice, I think you could make any book fun to hear...and I remember the time you read a portion of Seventeen Summer to us here at Quiet Life...sublime! love and prayers, jep

    1. Thank you so much Jep! That is so sweet!

  4. Anonymous11:39 AM

    I love this book. I also read it as a teenager in the 70s and was totally taken in by the story and the writing. I think I heard once that Maureen Daly did not go on to do more writing and this was her masterpiece, kind of like Harper Lee with To Kill A Mockingbird. Am I wrong about that? Thanks for your fun personal memories, too. My whole family would sleep outside on the grass (we lived on a farm) on really hot summer nights to escape the heat of the house. I, too, remember the morning dew on my hair and sleeping bag. I haven't done that since. Thanks for bringing back the happy memory.

    Debbie Z.

  5. Cyndi K G2:21 PM

    I loved Seventeen Summer as well and read it in the 70's -- I think my mom introduced me to it, so it has been around for awhile! And I love Rosamund DuJardin's & Janet Lambert's books -- fun and innocent. Also I enjoyed the Beany Malone books by Lenora Mattingly Weber: good fun!

  6. Anonymous4:19 PM

    Such great memories! I remember loving this book -- and most books that had young girls falling in love. Romance......that's all it took to suck me in. :)

    I think Maureen Daly had a sister who wrote as well? Modern day Bronte sisters? I'll have to Google it to make sure.

    Have a great weekend, baker's daughter turned baker's wife! Hope Katie is feeling 100%!

    Mary Z

  7. Shannan9:16 PM

    I cannot figure out how I landed on your lovely blog, but so happy I did. Your girls and your writing ~ Lovely. I bet you are a good mama.

  8. Janice2:12 PM

    You read this to me on the deck on Bolger Lake. Loved every minute of it. Thank you.

    I also thought of The Pink Dress...and I can't find it either.

  9. Anonymous5:31 AM

    My daughter (15) just picked this up at our local "Swap Shop" (free!). I had not heard of the book and wondered about it - so I love reading your thoughts (and heart!) about it! What perfect timing.
    I'll have to read it too!

    Have a great day Donna!

  10. oh i love this book!! I remember checking it out at the library when i was in 7th grade and i fell in love with it and ended up checking it out continuously after that. I finally bought it about a year ago and have reread it several times since then...and i agree with you, i completely forgot or didn't realize i guess i should say, about all the drinking and smoking...I guess i was just so caught up in the innocent, dreamy, young love back then to have even noticed that :) !

  11. I read a good many of the Cherry Ames book series when I was a child (in the 80s). I loved how it was written and how romantic her life seemed, as a nurse in training. I wonder what my impressions would be if I read it now. I remember loving at the time that it had been written in the 40s, if I remember correctly. I felt such a fun connection with another time and place when I read them.

  12. I read these excepts the day you posted them..and the one about the mom taking a nap has stuck in my head this long, so I came back to see the name of the book again to try to see about reading it :) And shouldn't words stick with us? I would love to know how my kids would hypothetically write of me when they are grown. Thanks for the book recommendation <3 melzie


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