The Today of 1922
This month’s book club choice was BABBITT by Sinclair Lewis.
A vivid portrait of American mores in 1922 – with nary a description of life and values that isn’t still just as relevant today.
The novel takes a look at the mid-life crisis of one George F. Babbitt, middle-class real estate man looking to find his place in the world.
The heart of the book seems summed up in early speech by Babbitt himself:
“Kind of comes over me: here I’ve pretty much done all the things I ought to; supported my family, and got a good house and a six-cylinder car, and built up a nice little business, and I haven’t any vices ‘specially, except smoking – and I’m practically cutting that out, by the way. And I belong to the church, and play enough golf to keep in trim, and I only associate with good decent fellows. And yet, even so, I don’t know that I’m entirely satisfied!”
And off he goes, in search of that rolling stone of satisfaction.
Which he can’t get no of.
Later in the book:
“Thus it came to him merely to run away was folly, because he could never run away from himself.”
The book is a comedy, with funny lines and funny moments, that well up to a sadness of the life of the man who has everything – except the courage to embrace a meaningful existence.
Side note: another quote that I can apply to far too many people in the past months:
“She was a crusader and, like every crusader, she exulted in the opportunity to be vicious in the name of virtue.”
Just my thoughts,