Babbitt

Babbitt

Book - 1992
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In the fall of 1920, Sinclair Lewis began a novel set in a fast-growing city with the heart and mind of a small town. For the center of his cutting satire of American business he created the bustling, shallow, and myopic George F. Babbitt, the epitome of middle-class mediocrity. The novel cemented Lewis's prominence as a social commentator. Babbitt basks in his pedestrian success and the popularity it has brought him. He demands high moral standards from those around him while flirting with women, and he yearns to have rich friends while shunning those less fortunate than he. But Babbitt's secure complacency is shattered when his best friend is sent to prison, and he struggles to find meaning in his hollow life. He revolts, but finds that his former routine is not so easily thrown over.
Publisher: New York : Signet Classic, c1992.
ISBN: 9780606003698
060600369X
9780451523662
0451523660
Branch Call Number: Fic
Characteristics: 335 p. ; 18 cm.
Additional Contributors: Schorer, Mark

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tonyalanjeffers
Oct 03, 2017

Golly Gee Whiz this novel has lots of Pep! In addition to learning the slang of the 1920s you can get a good idea of what life was like in Prohibition Era America (that's prohibition of alcohol in case you weren't sure). This was the beginning of the car age; and George F. Babbitt goes everywhere he wants to go in his car just like most Americans do today.
A die-hard conservative and something less than honest Real Estate Broker out to make all the bucks he can George begins to feel the emptiness of his life; and has what we would call today a mid-life crisis. He is proud that he earns $8000 a year which in 2017 dollars equals $102,193 and 44 cents!
I really enjoyed reading about urban life in the fictional city of Zenith in 1920. Social media was called "Gossip" and transmitted in person or via telephone.
Media was: newspapers, magazines, phonographic records and motion pictures(silent). Commercial radio had just made it's debut and is not mentioned.
Long distance travel was by train -with at least two detailed descriptions of train trips. Overseas travel was by ocean liner. It is notable that there is no mention of airplanes in spite of many references to Babbitt's admiration of new mechanical inventions.
This book has a lot of descriptions and lots of character development of characters we get only a short glimpse of and then they disappear.
About half way threw the book I started to wonder when the plot was going to unfold; but Lewis never gets around to that. I guess it's not suppose to have a plot just a lot of descriptions about life in 1920 urbania. It gets into just about every possible subject politics, social upheavals, fashions, crime and religious hypocrisy! Seattle gets a couple of favorable mentions.
This is a book and there is also an ebook available from SPL. The reviews above are for the audiobook version which appear quite good with big stars playing the rolls and Ed Asner as Babbitt and period music apparently more of an audio drama than just a reading of the book and it is available from SPL.
I hope you will enjoy reading it as much I did.

wilstyles Mar 13, 2012

Who knew this was so funny? Mr. Babbit just wants to be the ideal citizen and family. Then things go astray.

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