An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

This novel, written in the 1920s, is considered an American literary masterpiece. I’ve read classics and thought, “It doesn’t seem as good as when I read it in my teens,” or “I know it’s a great book, but it wasn’t a good read.”  An American Tragedy is still as fascinating as when I first read it for a college course. It’s a suspenseful murder story, but long before the murder occurs, it’s a spellbinding look into the mind of a character. Clyde Griffiths, a young man from a poor family, dreams of financial wealth and social position. While his peak salary of $25 a week gets him only a rented room and no automobile, he does, through wealthy relatives, get access to the world of the social elite. Eventually his attempts to better his position lead to his downfall.

(Helen Snow, Information Services)

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