Customer Reviews for

Main Street (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Average Rating 4.5
( 465 )
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(312)

4 Star

(65)

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(31)

2 Star

(17)

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(40)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Small Towns Can Be Depressing

In 1905, 37 year old lawyer Paul Percy Harris created the Rotary Club of Chicago and launched the Service Club movement. His explicit goal was to transplant to huge, cut-throat, impersonal, low- standard Chicago the best features of friendly, uplifting, prosper...
In 1905, 37 year old lawyer Paul Percy Harris created the Rotary Club of Chicago and launched the Service Club movement. His explicit goal was to transplant to huge, cut-throat, impersonal, low- standard Chicago the best features of friendly, uplifting, prospering, moral Wallingford, Vermont (population 1,000) where Harris had grown up. In 1920 appeared MAIN STREET, a novel by 35 year old Harry Sinclair Lewis. The novel's most obvious goal was to alert America to the negative, under-achieving, soul-shrinking aspects of small towns, particularly of Gopher Prairie, Minnesota (population 7,000). *** Trailing glorious memories of Judge Milford, her wise father and of her childhood home in Mankato, Minnesota, Carol Milford married a man a dozen years her senior, Will Kennicott, M.D., and moved with him to Gopher Prairie. Her father, who died when Carol was a teen, was a Massachusetts man, 'smiling and shabby, ... learned and teasingly kind.' And Mankato 'is not a prairie town, but in its garden-sheltered streets and aisles of elms is white and green New England reborn' (MAIN STREET, Ch. I) In college the orphaned Carol had discovered a dreamy bent for sociology and town-planning. These experiences she brought to her wedding and to her move from St. Paul where she worked as a librarian to Gopher Prairie, population 7,000. The mixture of past, present and future proved unstable in Carol Kennicott. *** Will Kennicott was not the intellectual that Carol Milford Kennicott's father had been. Will was a plodding, ordinary, hard-working country doctor. The most intellectually daring thing he ever did was to admire volatile, questing Carol and persuade her to marry him. Gopher Prairie was no transplanted Athens (as Carol remembered Mankato). And Gopher Prairie and its Main Street, representing thousands of similar American small towns, were unplanned, ugly, dirty, uncultured and a parasite on surrounding rural areas and farmers. Carol Kennicott set out to reform husband, town and 'denizens.' She played an idealistic, reforming Mary to her friend Vida Sherwin's more practical Martha. Carol sought to transform the village's architecture, school, and culture and create a sense of civic solidarity among its wealthier leaders. Her blitzkriegs all failed in the short run. But behind the scenes, with an eye to the long haul, over the years Vida Sherwin patiently won a new school. *** Meanwhile, the Kennicott marriage was neither a partnership in which husband and wife pooled resources behind the same profession nor a happy home built around a burgeoning nursery. Doctor Will retained an all male coterie of duck- hunting, tobacco-spitting friends, notably the merchant Sam Clark, 'dealer in hardware, sporting goods, cream separators and almost every kind of heavy junk you can think of' (Ch. III). The closest Carol was permitted to that circle was when Will bade her serve them food and drink on poker nights. *** Towards novel's end, yearning for freedom, a job, intellectual stimulus and romance, Carol took her three year old son off to Washington, DC in October 1918, a month before the end of World War One. There she experienced both the excitement of socializing with richly experienced, creative adults as well as the dullness of a Government office job. After a taste of strikers and the women's suffrage leaders, a more realistic Carol returned to husband, Gopher Prairie and Main Street. *** Sinclair Lewis went on to write BABBITT and other books mocking the transplanted devotion to small towns created by Rotary, Boosters, Kiwanis and other men's organizations. The duel goes on to this day, with idealized Mankato, Minnesota and Wallingord, Vermont rebuking a spirit-crushing Gopher Prairie, Minnesota, and between Paul Percy Harris and Harry SInclair Lewis. *** -OOO-

posted by Anonymous on September 7, 2005

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Horrible edition! Do not select this edition!

Full of typos, errors, starting on the copyright page. A complete disaster of an edition.

posted by Kristin_MN on October 27, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2012

    Influential Historical Fiction

    Main Street is a historical book from the early part of 1900 that definitely still applies to today. Reading about the significance it had on main stream society is amazing.
    There is a massive amount of detail and specificity in this book, almost to a fault. Lewis' descriptions of stores and locations as well as some meaningless conversations that take place seem a bit unnecessary at times.
    As far as character development and interaction, this book is top notch. I felt really connected to Carol, the main character, throughout her struggles toward improving the small town in which she resides. It was a bit disheartening to realize the parallels the author makes toward having aspirations to achieve great things, only to have to succumb to society norms and paths already in place.
    The many other personalities in the town are stereotypical people of all types that are still encountered today. I feel that many of the characters are in my sub-conscience as well when I am making decisions.
    Overall, the reason I gave this book three stars is because, even though I felt very connected with the main character and enjoyed the read, it was a very slow paced book that did not really have much of a plot besides the failed aspirations of the main character. It was a lot of "I want the world to be like this", "You can't tell me I can't have it this way", "You're right, it won't be this way". I recommend this book to someone who wants to read about historically significant fiction, but be forewarned that the story line will be a slow one.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2014

    Hazle Bloom

    Loved the story SD!))) I will go and read next chapter ASAP

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2014

    Blazette

    *she gets up and tries to walk away but hit a barrier get shocked and gets flung back*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2014

    TO ALL PONIES

    THE ROLEPLAY WAS TRANSFERRED TO FGV

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2014

    &beta&kappa

    Glanves around. "Um... book, please?"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2014

    Slate

    -_-

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2014

    To Bk

    Are you Jordan. -3-

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2014

    Turd-le

    Fight fight fight fight!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2014

    Quiet melody to all

    My nooks not charging no matter what i do so i wont be rping till afte i find a way to fix it or i get a new nook)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2014

    Quiet melody

    I only have 20% battery left i will check in of course to read the storys though got to love them try and get moone to start writing more of her story that way i can read that too)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2014

    Quiet melody

    I can tell you what i mean but not here go to ice tears old house (not the one at frozen north)

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  • Posted May 24, 2012

    OK - Not one of my favorites

    I really struggled through this one and was waiting for the big message or idea. No big wows or insights. Main Street was supposed to be a favorite in the early 1900's. It probably applied to small town USA during the period. Though at times interesting, I found most of it to be rather dull. In the end, I wasn't sure if Gopher Prairie had the problem or if the problem layed strictly with Carolyn - maybe both.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2012

    Emma

    Walks to scarlet letter...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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