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>Sister Carrie: 06/05/08
Sister Carrie is a deceptively good book. It starts out looking like a simple morality play about the evils of the big city but Carrie is no innocent girl from the country. Apparently Carrie's willingness to use people to better herself without any thought of the consequences caused quite a scandal in its day (1900) and the original manuscript had to be toned down before it could even be published. The 1927 edition I read most certainly was the edited version but it was still modern, crass and eye opening.
Overall, I liked the book. I wish I'd had the luxury to read it at a slower place because the book is long and complex with a large ensemble cast and an equally large number of plot twists. I though was under a number of deadline and caring for two sick children at the time so I didn't get a chance to curl up with this book.
That being said, the book's length in terms of pages and in time covered are both bordering on being too long. The book reminds me a great deal of Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann except set at the beginning of the 20th century, rather than at the mid point. Carrie, though, comes off as a stronger character than any of the women in Valley of the Dolls, in that she survives and thrives. I take issue with Dreiser saying Carrie can't find happiness no matter what she does; I don't think she was ever looking for happiness. She wants and has power.