"That's what I'll do after college! I'll get my hands on one of those prairie towns and make it beautiful. Be an inspiration ... Nobody has done anything with the ugly towns here in the Northwest except hold revivals and build libraries to contain Elsie books. I'll make 'em put in a village green, and darling cottages, and a quaint Main Street!'
She was a woman with a working brain and no work. There were only three things which she could do: Have children; start her career of reforming; or become so definitely a part of the town that she would be fulfilled by the activities of church and study-club and bridge-parties.Sinclair Lewis' Main Street was first published in 1920. It was an immediate success. In fact, it "became the best-selling American novel of the first quarter of the twentieth century." But that was then. No one seems to read it much any more. I can see why. It felt 100 pages too long. And while I liked it, I definitely didn't love it. Lewis writes well, but I found his story slow-moving and depressing. I really sympathized with Carol; she's so naive and full of hopeful optimism at the beginning of the novel, and at the end, sadly, she's given up her dreams of living a great life and resigned herself to Main Street. Still, I'd give Lewis another try. He does a good job of depicting life in 19th century America. (But I am glad this classic is done.)
The days of pioneering, of lassies in sunbonnets, and bears killed with axes in piney clearings, are deader now than Camelot; and a rebellious girl is the spirit of that bewildered empire called the American Middlewest.