Thursday, February 01, 2007

11. "Babbitt" ~ Sinclair Lewis

George Babbitt is a successful realtor in the fictional town and state of Zenith, Winnemac. He is faithful to his wife, whom he does not love, he is kind to strangers, whom he belittles because of their economic status, and he is adored by many friends because of his light humor and deep values of men's clubs, church, and business.


Lewis is sharp in this satire. It's like Main Street on meth. The people behave like society expects them to behave. When Babbitt tries to break out of his hollow life, he is firmly reprimanded.

There are so many one-liners that sting, the narrator a not-so-distant snark. If I had to chose the better of the two Lewis novels, I'd go with this one.

4.0 out of 5.0 Evertinis.


Jason said...

This one rises a little in my list. Loves me some satire.

jenclair said...

I read this as a teenager and found it boring. There are books that are more appropriate to a certain time of life, and at 17, I had little patience with middle-aged problems. Maybe I've learned enough in all of the intervening years to appreciate this classic! Thanks for a reminder that some books have a chronological place in my own timeline.

Pete said...

Agreed. Damn, I've really got to re-read Babbitt one of these days. It's been far too long.

Camille said...

I'm reading Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis and George Babbit just had a little cameo. Arrowsmith also has a lot taking place in and near Zenith, Winnemac. I'd like to get to this one sometime soon.