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Sarah's Library

I read pretty much anything, from fantasy (City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett) to romance (Bared to You by Sylvia Day) to classics (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad).  The only genres I don't read are self-help and comic books/graphic novels.

Currently reading

The Last Honeytrap
Louise Lee
Progress: 100/346 pages
Complete Works of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Sister Carrie - Theodore Dreiser

3/7 - This is a little slow so far, mostly because of the number of words Dreiser uses to say something simple - about three words to every one an author of today would use. The words themselves aren't particularly difficult, it's just that there's a lot of them. The story itself is interesting, though, so will push through all the words. To be continued...


4/7 - Drouet is exactly the kind of man/person I don't like. The kind who puts famous and/or more wealthy people on pedestals. Like, just because they're a famous opera singer or own a department store means they couldn't possibly commit a heinous crime, and if they did there must have been exceedingly understandable extenuating circumstances - they didn't do anything wrong, in fact they did the world a favour when they ran down that little old lady while driving drunk - and their pal the Chief of Police or the mayor will make sure they don't do any time. I really dislike the glorification of famous people just because they're famous, just because of the luck of the draw of being spotted by a talent agent in the local diner or ice skating rink - they're no better than any other person on the street, they just have more money than most other people on the street. Note: My view of Drouet's character may be slightly coloured by a recent Law and Order: Criminal Intent marathon. To be continued...


7/7 - It's funny, what Drieser wrote about Carrie's struggle to get work 114 years ago completely applies to what today's younger generations (makes me sound like I was around when this book was first published) are going through. Their wages don't pay enough to cover rent/mortgage, bills, food, transport, and other bare essentials. Companies aren't looking for inexperienced school/university graduates, they want employees with experience in their chosen industry. But the age old question of how anyone can get experience if no one will hire them and give them the opportunity to gain that experience in the first place, continues to be asked. It's not fair and it's a never-ending circle that's only going to get worse as year after year of highly educated, but inexperienced, uni graduates are forced into basic admin or data entry positions. The country is going to end up with a work force of entry-level workers and no one qualified to manage the more specialised positions - one of the many worrying trends that disturbs me about the direction the country's headed in. To be continued...

Page 91 - I don't know how they did things in 1900, but what Drouet just invited Hurstwood to sounds like some kind of orgy or some other situation that's going to involve the seduction (really should be rape, but I don't think it'll be described as such) of Carrie and her introduction to the world of 'kept women' or mistresses (not necessarily for Drouet's exclusive use). Oh dear! To be continued...

9/7 - I must be dense, for I seemed to have missed the hint, or the spot in the narrative where you're supposed to assume that Drouet and Carrie are now having sex, living together as 'man and wife'. Some pages back, when he first offered her a place to stay, there was mention of him not wanting to hurt Carrie and I took that to mean physically, mentally, and reputationally. That he would keep their relationship platonic, just one friend helping another (not that he wouldn't want more, just that it wouldn't be expected). That's why I wrote what I did about the supposed upcoming seduction of Carrie by Drouet and Hurstwood, I didn't understand that it was assumed that it had already happened, now I just sound a naïve old fool. Damn these overly prudish classic books, not saying what they mean, leaving things to the reader's imagination. Now I have to wonder what hasn't been said about Carrie and Hurstwood's relationship, if we're supposed to assume that they're having sex as well. Although, if they are having sex I don't see where they could have realistically fit it in as they've had very little time alone. To be continued...


18/7 - I enjoyed this, but can't really say why.  It was quite slow, certainly slower than my normal reading choices; there were no big events and no climatic ending; and none of the main characters were people I wanted to barrack for, for more than a few pages at a time.  Carrie had her sympathetic moments, but there were times when I wanted to sit her down and explain the ways of the world or shake some sense into her.  I was happy that Carrie finally managed to 'make it' on her own without the help of a man (what I imagine would have been a minor miracle in those days), and almost wanted to say to her "See, you can do it on your own.  Drouet and Hurstwood were just dragging you down and holding you back."  It was a blessing in disguise that neither of them actually married her.


If you read my reviews regularly you might have read my views on themes and messages within books - that they're not for me and tend to go straight over my head - I just don't see them, unless they're shoved down my throat (and books that do that are another story altogether).  So, I don't really know what Dreiser might have been attempting to say with this book, but I did get a feeling of feminine empowerment from Carrie's ability to survive with or without the two men who came into her life.  If that's not what Dreiser was trying to say then obviously I wasn't meant to understand it, but I still managed to find enough to interest me and keep me reading (which was a feat in and of itself as at 557 pages this is now the longest book I've read this year).