- Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: New American Library (April 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451527607
- ISBN-13: 978-0451527608
- Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.2 x 6.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (331 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,870,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sister Carrie (Signet Classics)
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Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser's revolutionary first novel, was published in 1900--sort of. The story of Carrie Meeber, an 18-year-old country girl who moves to Chicago and becomes a kept woman, was strong stuff at the turn of the century, and what Dreiser's wary publisher released was a highly expurgated version. Times change, and we now have a restored "author's cut" of Sister Carrie that shows how truly ahead of his time Dreiser was. First and foremost, he has written an astute, nonmoralizing account of a woman and her limited options in late-19th-century America. That's impressive in and of itself, but Dreiser doesn't stop there. Digging deeply into the psychological underpinnings of his characters, he gives us people who are often strangers to themselves, drifting numbly until fate pushes them on a path they can later neither defend nor even remember choosing.
Dreiser's story unfolds in the measured cadences of an earlier era. This sometimes works brilliantly as we follow the choices, small and large, that lead some characters to doom and others to glory. On the other hand, the middle chapters--of which there are many--do drag somewhat, even when one appreciates Dreiser's intentions. If you can make it through the sagging midsection, however, you'll be rewarded by Sister Carrie's last 150 pages, which depict the harrowing downward spiral of one of the book's central characters. Here Dreiser portrays with brutal power how the wrong decision--or lack of decision--can lay waste to a life. --Rebecca Gleason --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"In restoring Dreiser's masterpiece, the editors of the Pennsylvania Edition have given us more than a literary curiosity; like art historians cleaning a da Vinci fresco, they have uncovered the original glowing with an ancient newness."—Richard Lingeman, The Nation
"No work of such historical repute…has ever been republished with such major changes. . . . The 'new' novel . . . will probably become the accepted standard."—Herbert Mitgang, New York Times
"The 'restored' Sister Carrie . . . is in many ways a different book, fuller, less cruel, more recognizably Dreiser's own work."—Alfred Kazin, New York Review of Books--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I read the Kindle edition on two different Kindles that I own, a new Fire Kindle, and an old, original Kindle. In both cases I experienced no problems of any kind and the text had few typos or errors.
About the book itself, Theodore Dreiser is an accomplished writer who knows how to tell a story well. From the beginning to the end I took great interest in Sister Carrie’s adventures. A country girl, Carrie moves to Chicago to seek her fortune and initially, has no success. She learns the hard way that the poor are exploited by the rich as she works on an assembly line in a factory.
Because of her good looks she is noticed by a traveling salesman, Charlie Drouet. He convinces Carrie to move in with him and her fortunes improve dramatically. Charlie gets Carrie a bit part in an amateur theatrical and Carrie does well. Drouet’s friend George Hurstwood meets Carrie and immediately is smitten by her looks and charm. Hurstwood steals money from his employers and tricks Carrie into leaving Chicago with him. After a brief stay in Montreal, the pair finally arrive in New York City where they find an apartment and begin their life together.
Now Carrie’s story and her adventures begin in earnest and Dreiser knows how to involve readers and keep them interested in what happens to Carrie and Hurstwood. Dreiser is less successful as an amateur philosopher and psychologist. Throughout the novel he steps aside and gives his thoughts about life and living. The clarity of thought demonstrated in his telling of Carrie’s story is not as evident in his philosophical and psychological ramblings. That said, this is a minor criticism. From beginning to end I was thoroughly engaged in this coming of age story of a young and attractive girl who must depend on herself and her own talent and ingenuity to survive in a hostile environment. The Kindle edition is well done and the price is certainly right – that is, free on Amazon Kindle. Highly recommended.
If you enjoy such literary journeys, however, give the book a read. Sister Carrie is unique for her time and her surroundings are fairly fascinating. I was unhappy with the somewhat chauvinistic undertone the story carries, although perhaps for the time period Dreiser would be considered fairly progressive. Many readers can likely identify with the story's opening theme, of a girl on her own for the first time, timid and feeling alone in a big, imposing city. Carrie's struggle with finding a job, money, independence, and her place in the world is easy to relate to and her inner journey is portrayed well. After reading the Shmoop review of the book, I decided I could have skipped laboring through Dreiser's long-winded writing and simply hopped through a few much catchier, more interesting scholarly critiques.
The bottom line: If you're looking to spend many hours soaking into the pages of a well-developed rags-to-riches tale, check out Sister Carrie. If you're looking to enjoy the gist in a jiff, just read the reviews.