Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The 306 Greatest Books #141 - Babbitt

The next up on my reading of the 306 greatest books is Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis. This book can be found on the Sybervision Book List.


Babbitt is a rather interesting book. It takes place during the prohibition era of the early 1920's in middle America. It is set in the town of Zenith in a state that does not exist, but the main character, George F. Babbitt, frequently travels outside of Zenith to actual places like Chicago and Maine.The story is about an upper middle-class conservative businessman, who seemed unhappy with his life. Around the midpoint of the story, there is a breaking point that sends Babbitt off the deep end into a midlife crisis. During his midlife crisis, Babbitt eventually finds "liberalism" and "fun" (i.e. drink and carousing) and it seems like he supports those wanting to make a difference in society (the worker unions) but eventually he is brought back into the conservative/religious/anti-union fold. Although the story seemed to be rather plodding at times, it had an interesting subtext. I got the feeling that the author, Lewis, was promoting liberal thoughts and anti-religion, however in the book, conservatism and religion "won". Religion even seemed to be a joke to everyone involved at the end, which was something you just had to do whether you wanted to or not. It was weird. Overall the story was well written but the majority of the story was just dull. It was an alright book, but not one I would go out of my way to point out to someone to read.



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