Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Main Street

"I tell you it's dull. Dull!"
"The folks don't find it dull. These couples like the Haydocks have a high old time; dances and cards--"
"They don't. They're bored. Almost every one here is. Vacuousness and bad manners and spiteful gossip--that's what I hate."
"Those things--course they're here. So are they in Boston! And every place else! Why, the faults you find in this town are simply human nature, and never will be changed."

I just finished it today, and quite honestly, I am so happy I stuck it out; it really is a magnificent piece of work. I had my fights with it, yes, mostly about not really liking Carol (the main) at all and then having disgusted feelings toward Sinclair Lewis's presumptive writing from the inner workings of a small town woman. But after it got good, and it didn't get good until page 330, I was sold on it. It absolutely captures everything wonderful about a small town and everything horrible; what it really, really means to be conflicted and to yearn for something adventurous. It is amazingly well written, even if you hate the characters and the story--the telling of the story is beautiful and poetic. I will read anything else he's written in a heartbeat.

And not in a long time have I finished a book, examined it lovingly, and hugged it to me (ala Henry Bemis in Time Enough at Last) but I did that with this. Bravo.