Customer Reviews for

Main Street (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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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

6 out of 9 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 2, 2014

    Ice tears to FF add on to the post with the pony codes

    Ice tears and frost bites cutie marks are both snflake th key differents is that frost bites is black also they have a faded x shaped scar on thier head

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    Ice tears

    Whats going on?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2014

    Moone

    Sorry, White, but I'm go write mah fanfics. Love ya!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2014

    Moone

    Fur Elise..... brings back memories..... I wanna read the next book of hat series. XD

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2014

    Nymphali

    I wrote a song and within minutes someone's advertising it on erin hunter result one as horrible. How did they even FIND it? Oh yeah, blue flare result one. How? Just WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA?????

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2014

    Ice tears to SD

    I saw what you posted at ism result 28 though you might not remeber posting since it was two months ago

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2014

    Candy

    Because l felt like it. *serious face*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2014

    Pinkie Pie

    !Why is everypony impostering me?"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2014

    Cheeto Dust

    "I knew it was a bad idea to move here!" She tried to run away, but tripped and gave up, laying there on the road. "This town keep having villains everywhere blowing stuff up."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2014

    Blue lightning

    "..Math camp?!"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2014

    Ice ears

    I know a search where at least the frst 8 pages are multi there to be a clan there but it went inactive

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2012

    Ookay book

    This was okay

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  • Posted February 14, 2010

    Sinclair Lewis could be describing social and political divides in 2010

    The book is a bit of a slog. . .too long, too detailed. The characters are not particularly real, but as stereotypes we recognize some of every character in ourselves and people we know. It's interesting to ponder--who was the hero? All characters had foolish and sympathetic characteristics. Most amazing is the universality of political and social ideas. The divide in political and social ideas of American culture fall on the same fissures 100 years later--the more things change the more they stay the same!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2002

    Classic fiction!!

    This is a story of American ideals that are fraught with fault according to the new bride of the town Doctor. She is determined to expand the minds and ways of the small narrow minded town she now calls home. The parallels then are no different than they are in any town today - the struggles, the doubts, the frustrations. Rather reaffirming I thought. Because the author introduces us to so many characters early on, it is a little difficult to get into until you are familiar with the townspeople. The book dates from the early 20th century and the prose is a bit antiquated but will no doubt expand your vocabulary. An engrossing story by the 4th chapter.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2002

    A fantastic read of a great classic

    Few of us have any connection to prairie life or the hardships the countrymen went through to create the heart of America...but the characters that you come across in Main Street haven't changed and you see them everywhere today. I must say Dr. Kennicott is the most understanding and honest character I have met in a long time. Through Carol Kenicott's follies and youth, you can see her strong will and hope for a better place, even when no one agrees with her. And of course Sinclair Lewis is very artful and generous with criticisms and irony. I didn't want to put the book down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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