Young and beautiful Alice Adams comes from a poor family, but she thinks herself clever and has ambitions of marrying a wealthy man or finding a career on the stage. She meets the socially prominent Arthur Russell and they fall in love. Afraid of his possible reaction, she schemes to keep Arthur from meeting her family, but eventually he does meet them at a dinner party an their relationship is ruined.
The nagging ambitions of Alice's mother get her father and brother involved with a disastrous business venture causing the family great financial difficulty. At last Mrs. Adams is forced to run a boarding house to support the family. Alice ends by deciding to enter business school.
The novel is a commentary on social climbing and snobbery.
This report prepared by Jack Goodstein