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Patty at Home

May 29, 2007

So, it’s the second book, and Patty and her dad are still talking about proportion constantly. I’m curious to see if this lasts into book three, because I don’t remember there being a single mention of it in Patty’s Summer Days, and I’ve read that, like, five times.

Anyway, when we left Patty and Mr. Fairfield, they’d just decided to settle down in the town of Vernondale so that they could keep hanging out with their proportionally perfect relatives, the Elliots. But at the beginning of Patty at Home, Carolyn Wells pretends that they haven’t really made a decision yet so that the Fairfields and the Elliots can have a really dumb mock debate that’s oddly reminiscent of some little kids pretending to be royalty in Marjorie at Seacote, another Wells book. But it’s a foregone conclusion that they’re going to stay in Vernondale, and soon they find a house and Patty prepares herself to be a housekeeper. She acquires a cook named Emancipation Proclamation Jackson — “Mancy” for short — and a young servant named Pansy Potts who is overly fond of plants.

Her housekeeping starts off pretty well, except for a few embarrassing mistakes and the upsetting incident at the end of their first month in the house when the bills arrive and Patty finds each one to be about twice what it ought to be. Still, though, she does a pretty good job for a fifteen-year-old. She even has guests to stay: her St. Claire cousins, who are even brattier than before, and then her Barlow cousins, along with their friend Nan Allen, who had visited them the previous summer at the same time as Patty did.

Nan and Mr. Fairfield get engaged at the end of the book, and it’s very cute. Mr. Fairfield and Patty take a walk after dinner one evening, and he says something about how, although Patty’s a pretty good housekeeper, she’s not going to live at home forever, and so he thinks he’d better start training someone up to replace her. Patty looks at him and just says “Nan!” and when he admits that yes, it’s Nan, Patty tells him that she things that’s fantastic, and what does Nan think?

Mr. Fairfield: “She seems delighted too.”

So, that’s fun, but my favorite part of this book is that it is the one where Kenneth Harper and Mr. Hepworth are introduced. Ken is a college student, age 19, who Patty and her father befriend and who turns out to be the nephew of their reclusive neighbor. He’s kind of adorably boyish, and later on he falls in love with Patty. Mr. Hepworth falls in love with Patty later, too. He’s a lot older than Ken, but younger than Mr. Fairfield, whose friend he is. He’s also a moderately famous artist who is good at designing scenery and things when Patty and her friends put on plays. Mr. Hepworth is my second favorite of the men who fall in love with Patty — of the top of my head I can think of six, and I’ve read just under half the books in the series — and since I didn’t read a book with my first favorite in it until last year, I spent a lot of time being really upset that Patty and Mr. Hepworth didn’t end up together. And then — well, I’ll come to that a few books from now.

I’ve decided that I’m going to try to track down the Patty books I haven’t read yet, and since the next one, Patty in the City, is one of those, it might take me a while to get to it. Last week I was about seven seconds away from winning fifteen of the seventeen books in the series on eBay when someone outbid me, and I’m still kind of upset about it. It’s going to take a long time to collect them separately.

I probably won’t be updating for a few more days. I’m frantically trying to write a paper without really knowing what it’s about, which is never good, but it’s due in Pennsylvania on Friday, and after that I’m going to get new shelves in my room and get my books of the floor. I’m sure there will be some pretty impressive before and after pictures showing up here soon.

for more info: my Patty Fairfield reference page

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3 comments

  1. I love the idea of someone named “Emancipation Proclamation Jackson” — I mean, really…


  2. It actually kind of works, doesn’t it?


  3. One thing about books of this era is that they are not at all PC about portraying regional and ethnic dialects.



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