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Main Street by Sinclair Lewis

Main Street

by Sinclair Lewis

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3,054511,855 (3.75)325

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Loved loved loved it. A masterful satire on American small town life and wonderful character study in Carol. ( )
  Soulmuser | May 30, 2017 |
I couldn't tell sometimes if this story of early 20th century small town morals and social pressures was feminist or mocking.

Carol, a young woman who has lost her parents, becomes a librarian in St. Paul and meets an older country doctor. She marries him without really understanding the constrictions of small town life. Her attempts to renovate the town are peremptory and mostly failures, given the very conventional nature of the community. Her husband is loving but does not share her intellectual cravings. After a son is born, she escapes for a time to Washington, D.C. but work there is not much more fulfilling. After an extended visit from her husband, she is once more pregnant and returns to their small town of Gopher Prairie, determined to do as much as she can to improve the social freedoms, especially for women.

Lewis's descriptive powers are impressive - the country itself leaps off the page over and over again. Carol and some of the other characters are very transparently drawn, so that you can see their thoughts, especially Carol's, as they struggle between ambitions and realities. The observations of prejudice and mean-spirited attitudes toward the poor have not become any less relevant today, alas, although I suspect the small towns have changed a great deal since the 1915-20 era. ( )
  ffortsa | Nov 6, 2016 |
This book went on too long for me -- I ended up losing interest in and patience with Carol. I felt like I should sympathize with her but didn't in fact do so.

Lloyd James was very good with the narration which did help me persevere through. ( )
  leslie.98 | Oct 3, 2016 |
This is a well written story of life in a simpler time,but not simple life! A good,digestable read. A good choice if you never read Lewis before. ( )
  LauGal | Aug 16, 2016 |
'That's what I'll do after college! I'll get my hands on one of these prairie towns and make it beautiful.'
By sally tarbox on 27 April 2013
Format: Paperback
When idealistic young graduate Carol Milford - disenchanted with her career in a city library - consents to marry Dr Kennicott and move out to the small town of Gopher Prairie, she imagines she will be able to use her taste and education to 'improve' her dull and unattractive new home. Lobbying for better buildings; starting a drama group; mixing with the lower classes... But people don't always want to be patronised and improved; indeed many (including the Doctor) are perfectly content with life as it is.
The reader increasingly feels Carol 'champing at the bit' in her provincial home:
'Gopher Prairie with its celebrated eleven miles of cement walk...I wonder how much of the cement is made out of the tombstones of John Keatses?'
Whether Carol can accept smalltown life for what it is or continues to fight against it made for a highly readable novel. ( )
  starbox | Jul 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
Ninety years after publication, Sinclair Lewis’s Main Street still resonates with readers ... The book became an immediate sensation. Biographer Mark Schorer called its publication “the most sensational event in twentieth-century American publishing history.” ... Lewis found a way to appeal to both those who were nostalgic for small town America and those who were dissatisfied with it.
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To James Branch Cabell and Joseph Hergesheimer
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Chapter 1
On a hill by the Mississippi where Chippewas camped two generations ago, a girl stood in relief against the cornflower blue of Northern sky.
She had her freedom, and it was empty.
Not a matter of heroism. Matter of endurance...There's one attack you can make on it, perhaps the only kind that accomplishes anything anywhere; you can keep on looking at one thing after another in your home and church and bank, and ask why it is, and who first laid down the law that it had to be that way. If enough of us do this impolitely enough, then we'll become civilized in merely twenty thousand years or so, instead of having to wait the two hundred thousand years that my cynical anthropologist friends allow...easy, pleasant, lucrative home-work for wives: asking people to define their jobs. That's the most dangerous doctrine I know!
The tragedy of old age, which is not that it is less vigorous than youth, but that it is not needed by youth; that its love and prosy sageness, so important a few years ago, so gladly offered now, are rejected with laughter.
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Main Street was written by Sinclair Lewis, not Upton Sinclair, so you might want to correct the author on your book page.  Thank you.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451526821, Mass Market Paperback)

"Main Street" tells the tale of a big-city girl who marries a physician and settles in a small town in the Midwest, only to fall victim to the narrow-mindedness and unimaginative natures of the town's residents. Introduction by Thomas Mallon.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:45 -0400)

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A young woman has difficulty adjusting to life in a small town in Minnesota.

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