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Mildred Pierce (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) [Kindle Edition]

James M. Cain
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
Kindle Price: $11.50
You Save: $3.45 (23%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Mildred Pierce had gorgeous legs, a way with a skillet, and a bone-deep core of toughness. She used those attributes to survive a divorce and poverty and to claw her way out of the lower middle class. But Mildred also had two weaknesses: a yen for shiftless men, and an unreasoning devotion to a monstrous daughter.

Out of these elements, Cain creates a novel of acute social observation and devastating emotional violence, with a heroine whose ambitions and sufferings are never less than recognizable.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cain's classic novel, and the source for the 1945 film starring Joan Crawford, makes its way onto audio with this reading by actor and singer Williams. Cain's purple prose and then-scandalous dialogue take on new life under Williams's direction, her assured tone underscoring the legendary noir writer's rip-roaring tale of a woman scorned who survives no-good men and a hateful daughter to make it in 1930s Los Angeles. Williams is out of her depth encountering tense or high-pitched dialogue, reading it in a clipped monotone that does little for Cain's drama, but is on far stronger ground with the rest of the book, which flourishes under her steady, patient, ever-so-slightly melancholic gaze. Williams's reading lacks the rage that moved Crawford's Mildred, but her version of the now-familiar story amplifies our sense of Cain's heroine as an abandoned woman who finds her own way, on her own terms. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"A notable collection of screenplays... All reproduce the film as shot, with extensive data... [and] full production credits." - American Cinematographer"

Product Details

  • File Size: 1016 KB
  • Print Length: 307 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0679723218
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (December 29, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,580 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
92 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I finished this book in less than 24 hours December 26, 2002
By jenbird
I don't know quite where to start when writing a review of this book. Even though I had seen the movie and so knew more or less how the story would unfold (or thought I did), I still couldn't put the book down. The Washington Post said that "James M. Cain is the poet of the hard-boiled school of the American novel," and that compliment is well deserved. I was immediately drawn into the story and stayed completely absorbed until the last page. As others have mentioned, the book is much darker than the movie, and more complex as well. I went back and read the last chapter over a few times just to savor the ending again. The first time it was so startling that I couldn't quite believe what I had read. This is just one example of the power of Cain's writing. It's simply remarkable.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a mother's love is blind.. November 19, 2001
By lazza
Mildred Pierce is one of those 'tough as nails, heart of gold' mothers who should an inspiration to all women. She kicks out her dead-beat husband, works her tail off to keep food on the table and her daughters happy, and has the guts/brains to start her own successful business. So what's wrong (and why did James M. Cain bother to write about her)?
Unable to face reality, Mildred is the victim of her own blindness to her rotten eldest daughter's ways. Not only is her daughter unappreciative, she actually ridicules her mother as being some uncouth and ignorant embarassment. Mildred's toughness melts when confronting her monster daughter, much to her detriment. While a heartbreaking story overall, the ending is especially moving ... have your hankies ready.
Perhaps many folks reading this review has seen the famous film adaption (starring Joan Crawford) of Mildred Pierce. While the film generally carries the intent of James M. Cain's written word, there are several differences. Obviously Hollywood wanted to over-dramatize, or simply invent scenes. As much as I like the movie I enjoyed the book more; I found it to be more personal , intense and believable.
Bottom line: required reading by all mothers, strongly recommended to everyone else.
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Focus On Mother-Daughter Instead of Man-Woman April 1, 2001
I never met a James M. Cain novel I didn't like and this one was no exception. The title is of the lead character who rises to great success during the Depression with a series of restaurants in early California. However, she has one big problem: the daughter she raised alone, Veda. Veda becomes a singer and also a master at deceiving and betraying her mother. Veda does not even consider her mother's spouse, her stepfather, off limits. This showcases the same intense Cain focus on a twisted relationship but this time it is on the mother-daughter relationship, arguably a more powerful one than the lover-lover one. This was made into a movie starring Joan Crawford, who won an Oscar playing Mildred. I thought this film version went too over the top though and veered into being maudlin and soap operaish. Stick with Cain's novel, the far more complex work.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tough-minded Mildred runs out of steam June 18, 2003
It's inevitable that most readers should go into this book with the excellent film version starring Joan Crawford in their minds. However, the two are quite different beasts, which is a credit to the strength and originality of both.
This is not a crime novel as the film implied, but a tough Depression era story of a woman determined to get by in a world of snobbery and class prejudices that even she herself cannot deny that she holds. When she becomes a single mother, Mildred is ashamed to have to take on a job as a waitress to keep her children in the relatively wealthy lifestyle to which they are accustomed. With nothing more than determination, she becomes the mistress of a restaurant empire and a wealthy businesswoman. But none of this is enough to endear her to her spitfire daughter Veda, whom she both dislikes and passionately admires.
It comes as a surprise that the Mildred of Cain's novel is more a Veronica Lake than a Crawford, a short-skirted coquette who uses her physical as well as mental assets to achieve what she needs. More complex is Mildred's relationship with Veda, and the character of Veda herself, a swaggering, overbearing, thoroughly nasty piece of work. If you thought Ann Blyth's Veda was unlikeable, meet this one! It's even more clear here that Mildred's motherly love has turned into unhealthy obsession. Unlike the film, the monster that is Veda is never really exorcised here.
It's the ending of the book which lets the rest down. The final quarter seems hasty - it smacks of an author who is getting a little tired of his characters and has run out of hoops for them to jump through. And while the book closes on a bleak sort of denouement, no real sense of conclusion or capitulation is gained.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the best work by maybe the best noir writer March 10, 2010
I'm a big fan of Hammett, Chandler, Ellory, and a few others who can take you inside the minds of people you'd never want to meet, yet might resemble a little too much. But as time goes by I'm beginning to lean towards Cain as the master of the noir genre, and this as his masterpiece.

As much as people love the Curtiz/Crawford film, its wellspring is overall a much finer, deeper work. Where the movie panders to its audience by including a murder that doesn't occur here (and needn't), Cain never once takes the easy route of administering easy moments of "justice" (read enough noir and that word will never seem the same...). He knows how people work, and it ain't very pretty most of the time, and he ain't afeared that we'll be unentertained when things go all too realistically.

Our heroine here is in most respects a very sympathetic lady, and we start pulling for her right out of the gate. But Cain doesn't let us off that easy. He also shows Mildred's various flaws, the fatal one being her obsessive love/worship/need for the respect of her daughter Veda. After a while any sane reader has to start disliking Mildred a bit for this myopia, and wondering how a woman so bright in other matters can be so blind regarding her daughter. Yet Cain paints her portrait so thoroughly, blemishes and all, that we must eventually forgive her this tragic blindness and thus suffer with her as she is mistreated ever more hideously by her demon progeny.

Veda is so ruthless, and ruthlessly portrayed, that it gets a bit much at times, and we begin to lust for her comeuppance. What makes Cain so intensely unforgiving, and accurate, is that she never gets it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Love Mildred
Enjoyed the book. It was a good read with interesting things happening all the time. I read it in just a couple days. Read more
Published 19 days ago by V. Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars and the book is so much better. More details
I have also seen the movie, and the book is so much better. More details, a great read. I would highly recommend it.
Published 1 month ago by Joann Maginnis
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb novel
This is one of the best novels I have ever read.

It tells the story of one amazing woman who dedicated her life to making a better life for her daughters, one an... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Shelley Gaumond
4.0 out of 5 stars although I enjoyed the story the reader was not good
I listened to this book, although I enjoyed the story the reader was not good.
Published 1 month ago by Dawn
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
I could barely put this book down. Fantastic story, and what an ending!!!! I will read another book by James Cain soon!
Published 1 month ago by June Rochford
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
enjoyed the book
Published 1 month ago by Mary Anne Stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a good read
Published 1 month ago by T. Dove
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
This was a gift
Published 1 month ago by Sandy
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I read this because of the movie. It gives a whole different slant on the mother-daughter relationship.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Not really a crime novel.
I read the novel after watching the TV series with Kate Winslet and the movie with Joan Crawford. Unlike other Cain novels, this really isn't about crime -- the movie changed the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ted. Wakefield
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