Top positive review
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Probably the greatest ever 'Mid Life Crisis' novel
on 26 November 2012
...as well as a fantastic satire of the American middle-classes in the 1920s.
George F Babbitt is a successful businessman in the American Midwest who starts, slowly at first, to rebel against the conformity of respectable society in the (fictional) small city of Zenith, initially bringing confusion from family and friends, and later his causing his own ostracism from the local respectable set. Lewis described in a letter to his publisher how "He is all of us Americans at 46, prosperous but worried, wanting - passionately - to seize something more than motor cars and a house before it's too late."
It's a wonderful novel, and if you've never read any Sinclair Lewis before then this is a great place to start. He combines gentle humour through fantastic observation of characters with biting satire. You can be chuckling happily one moment and wincing the next. He also manages to create a character here who is entirely believable, likeable for all his follies and weaknesses, and eventually quite inspiring. Set over two years in Babbitt's life, with a somewhat ambiguous ending, it is a great piece of writing judged either as satire or as a touching portrait of a changing man. I really would recommend this novel to anyone.