Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Being the fourth book I've read of Sinclair Lewis' (The other three being his other major works-Main Street, Babbitt, and Elmer Gantry), I was pretty much set to be blown away by this novel since it's widely considered to be his best and his most read. But honestly, it is my least favorite of his books so far. It's mostly because of the title character himself, Martin Arrowsmith, who is most certainly the least comical protagonist I've read thus far from Lewis. In that way, a great deal of the satire is lost since his central figure is not a buffoon or harboring outrageous delusions of grandeur. Instead, in many ways (Except for the ending), Arrowsmith is a truly admirable character, striving to adhere to his beliefs and not to be corrupted. In every way, he's not the kind of character I would expect out of Sinclair Lewis, which, in this instance, is a bad thing. I barely laughed at all while reading it.
That's not to say that Lewis is only good when he's providing that biting, acerbic wit when it comes to casting characters. But being that this is less a character study, and more an actual story, it kind of threw me off. In the end, I wasn't entirely impressed. Given all the science involved, I'm sure this was a very important and relevant novel at the time, but today, it doesn't really seem all that impressive. This is always usually the case when something new and fresh is invented. So many others make it their own over the years that it begins to feel tired and unoriginal, even though it's actually the genuine article. For that reason, I find Arrowsmith a bit blah. It's most certainly a well-written novel, but it wasn't what I expected, nor was I pleasantly surprised. In the end, it's just "Meh" for me.
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