Review: An American Tragedy


An American Tragedy
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I would give this one 3.5 stars (out of five). It was at times very frustrating, quite boring, and then, at the end, very, very moving.

Clyde Griffiths has to be one of the most dislikable characters in all of American literature. Sure, one can relate to the young Clyde not wanting to be part of his parents’ street mission, wanting a job, then wanting a better job, but once he has a pretty decent job as a bellboy he quickly becomes droll and boring until an accident sends him fleeing Kansas City. He soon ends up working a low middle management job in his rich uncle’s shirt and collar factory, and that’s when he really becomes a shallow, self-serving little … Well, not a good person.

This incredibly long book could easily have been cut by several hundred pages without losing anything, but perhaps gaining in momentum. Dreiser really dragged out some of the descriptions, repeating things over and over sometimes. Also, a good deal of the action was told to us passively instead of in an active voice that let the reader experience it.

That said, the end of the book, after the trial, I found to be very moving and insightful. Sure, it was filled with Christian overtones that may turn away some readers, but when you consider the time period it’s to be expected. However, that soul-searching that Clyde, and especially his mother, has to go through at that time really redeemed the book in my opinion.

The audiobook is over 34 hours long. Whether you listen or read, plan to devote a good chunk of time to this one. I found it worthwhile, and it’s one of those stories I suspect will nag at my memory for quite a while now that I’ve finished it.

View all my reviews

Advertisements

One thought on “Review: An American Tragedy

  1. Wonderful goods from you, man. I have consider your stuff prior to and you’re just extremely excellent. I really like what you have obtained here, certainly like what you’re saying
    and the way in which you are saying it. You are making it
    enjoyable and you continue to care for to stay it sensible.
    I can not wait to read much more from you. This is actually a
    terrific site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s