I confess, I found the author (Theodore Dreiser) to be MUCH more interesting than the book. He was a socialist. And…HE WAS AN INCESTUOUS BIGAMIST.*
Dude, what is up with that?
And okay, so I’m getting my details from Wikipedia, which states “After proposing in 1893, he married Sara White on December 28, 1898. They ultimately separated in 1909, partly as a result of Dreiser’s infatuation with Thelma Cudlipp, the teenage daughter of a work colleague, but were never formally divorced. In 1913, he began a romantic relationship with the actress and painter Kyra Markham. In 1919 Dreiser met his cousin Helen Richardson with whom he began an affair and they eventually married on June 13, 1944.” So I am totally going with incestuous bigamist. Or perhaps I should say…philandering incestuous bigamist.
I think it has a certain ring to it. I’m also giving him the nickname Mr. Cranky Pants, based solely on this:
Cool bow tie, though.
Anyhoosie. The book:
Unfortunately, that was not the cover of the book I read. Mine was one of those boring black classics covers. Even this would’ve been better:
And full disclosure…I only read Sister Carrie. No way was I moving on to Jennie Gerhardt or Twelve Men. Nope.
Okay. So it wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was actually quite readable, unlike some classics (cough…Brothers Karamazov…cough). It’s just that I didn’t really like anyone. These were the big three:
Carrie: Although she sucked it up and made good in the end, she expected men to care for her. She was also not very sharing when she ended up as the main breadwinner. (Not that Hurstwood was much better.)
Hurstwood: Summed up in one word: ass. Interestingly enough, he was also a bigamist (although not an incestuous one).
Drouet: Marginally better than Hurstwood, but still with ass-like tendencies.
The basic story goes like this: small town girl moves to big city. Finds a menial job, hates it. Gets picked up by a charming salesman, he buys her shiny things, she shacks up with him, the afore-mentioned ass shows up and wants some of that, they plan to runaway together, she finds out he’s married, he kidnaps her and so they still end up running away together, he stops buying her shiny things, he loses his job and stays home in his tatty clothes all day, she becomes an actress, dumps his ass, and buys her own shiny things. Rocking chair. The end.
Points for readability, realism, and no Judgey McJudgersons popping out of the woodwork and yelling “Harlot!”
Loss of points for unlikable characters, bigamy, and the rocking chair ending.
*I am totally impressed by the socialism. Totally NOT impressed by the philandering and incestuous bigamy.