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Mildred Pierce

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  5,880 Ratings  ·  749 Reviews
Hard boiled, hungry for love and money...

She was a shrewd divorcee with an eye for men, a talent for profit and an obsession with success. She clawed her way through life. Not for herself, but for her daughter Veda--her ripe, cruel daughter--who couldn't keep her hands off her mother's men...
Mass Market Paperback, 238 pages
Published December 1967 by Bantam Books (first published 1941)
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Mark Gruben I liked the book, actually, and I have seen both the 1945 film and the HBO remake several times. The book adds a certain depth and vibrancy that…moreI liked the book, actually, and I have seen both the 1945 film and the HBO remake several times. The book adds a certain depth and vibrancy that neither of the screen versions could capture. The HBO miniseries is relatively faithful to the book; the film version was obviously "sanitized" in order to pass muster with the censors.(less)
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Mildred Pierce would have made a great guest for Dr. Phil or Oprah.

During the Great Depression, Mildred’s husband has been moping about since the collapse of his real estate business and takes up with another woman until Mildred has enough and throws him out. That takes care of one problem but leaves her to support their two daughters herself. With no work experience, Mildred finally takes a job as a waitress that she finds humiliating, but eventually her parlays what she learns and her baking s
Dan Schwent
Mildred Pierce divorces her out of work, philandering husband and struggles to find a way to support herself and her two daughters. Too bad she attracts lazy scoundrels like a magnet and one of her daughters is a hellion...

Mildred Pierce is the tale of the titular character's obsessive devotion to her wicked nigh-sociopathic daughter and her wrong choices in men. Cain guides Mildred and her fabulous gams from one setback to the next, either from Veda or one of her douchebag suitors.

The writing i
Mar 22, 2011 Sunday rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

If you leave a large heart-shaped box of chocolates open on my desk, I’ll eat it even if it triggers a bear trap on my arm. I feel pretty much the same way about the rich chocolately goodness of noir melodrama, or campy female slap-fests. I don’t think there is anything as worthy of losing your arm over as Mildred Pierce. This book is the Bitch Queen Mother of books.

There are many things that make my favorite book compass spin wildly in circles here. First of all, growing up in the tract home sp
Barry Pierce
I'd include this book in the genre I like to call, "Middle Class White Women Have A Really Bad Time". Other works in this genre include, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams and The Awakening by Kate Chopin. I seem to really enjoy this genre for some reason.

I came to Mildred Pierce for two reasons, one) the Joan Crawford film and two) look that's my name! Overall I did enjoy this book. You actually care about the characters, especially Mildred, which I find quite rare. The relationshi
Well done story that paints a realistic portrayal of a woman's struggle for success during the depression era.
This story gives me thoughts of a previous read novel Revolutionary Road by Yates which also was adapted into big screen well. They really are both of similar tones. A decline of the family structure, loss of possessions dear to them in this world, a really heart warming and life learning story.
Is there more light at the end of the tunnel for the main protagonist Mildred?
You are taken

Wow, freaking wow. I had no idea I would be sucked into this novel the way I was -- I couldn't put it down! I know that phrase is overused, but seriously, I couldn't put it down! And when I did have to abandon it for life and work, I couldn't wait to get back to it. This is so different than Cain's other noir novels where sex and violence, scheming, backstabbing and a dead body feature so prominently. Unlike Double Indemnity or The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce is a full-length nove
Sep 08, 2016 Fabian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Often a finicky reader like myself will coordinate novel reading with leisurely travel. It is the exquisite pairing of books at beaches, at hotel balconies, at restaurants that forever, at least in my own experience, binds the two together in a truly surreal/Dadaistic effort. For instance, I remember fondly reading "Catcher in the Rye" at a desolate Mexican beach, "The Tesseract" on my way to Mazatlan, "The Exorcist," "Sphere" and "The Beach" all making themselves unforgettable with the incessan ...more
James Thane
James M. Cain's Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice have always been two of my favorite crime novels. While Mildred Pierce was turned into something of a crime story in the movie starring Joan Crawford, the book is the fairly straight-forward story of a California woman who struggles to make a life for herself and her daughter, Veda, during the years of the Great Depression.

As the book opens, Mildred throws her lazy, unfaithful husband out on his ear and become the single mother
May 17, 2010 Ademption rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
So there's a restaurant a few blocks from my place bearing the novel's namesake. It made Canadian national news, and then the US Today show. Not for its pies, not for its cuisine. Mildred Pierce is a yuppie establishment, serving white fusion. By white fusion I mean the sad attempt at hodgepodge described by some whitey-white liberal college students searching for cultural identity: "Irish, British, Swedish, and German." Meh. What made it international gossip was that this highbrow eatery has la ...more
Alex Gradet
I want Veda Pierce to become real. So that I may punch her.
Feb 15, 2016 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What an odd, sad little book this is. I quite thought I'd have no trouble relating to Mildred at the beginning - I got hooked on, "She was a little given to rehearshing things in her mind, and having imaginary triumphs over people who has upset her in one way and another," because I do that all the time. But she ends up being such a weak, small-minded jerk that I lost any sympathy I'd had for her. (view spoiler) ...more
Richard Vialet
Well-written and with an interesting lead character, but it drags too long and gets a bit too soap opera-ish for my tastes. It's a cool little peek into Depression-era Los Angeles though!
Dec 16, 2011 Michela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Mildred Pierce”
James McCain

Perché ho comprato questo libro che pochissime persone hanno sentito nominare?

Bè, è noto ormai quanto le copertine influenzino i miei acquisti compulsivi e cosi è andata anche questa volta: sono in libreria che giro con gli occhi fuori dalle orbite e scorrendo velocemente lo scaffale dedicato alla casa editrice Adelphi mi vedo Kate Winslet in uno sfondo verde smeraldo, leggo la quarta di copertina che mi informa che questo libro è stato ripubblicato per la prima vo
Feb 08, 2016 Mizuki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great
I picked up Mildred Pierce without realizing the book was written by the same author who penned The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity, now after finishing Mildred Pierce, I've decided to put the latter two books to the top of my To-Read list.

Mildred Pierce is a young woman who had recently divorced her unfaithful husband and now she must look after her two daughters at the time of The Great Depression, and life isn't easy for a single mom of that time. Mildred's struggle had been m
Mar 08, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of course, I saw the movie first. "Mildred Pierce" is one of my favorites, and I'll watch it every time it's on TCM, because Veda, Mildred's daughter, is such an fabulously unmitigated bitch. Then I found out the movie was adapted from this book, written by the same guy who wrote The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity. Really, I don't have to write a review: the book's credentials recommend it without my help, don't they?

But I'll write one, anyway.

This book is dark. One of the reas
May 15, 2013 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mildred Pierce é um excelente romance de época, que retrata na perfeição a época que sucedeu a Grande Depressão de 1929. Com o desemprego a aumentar, fruto da derrapagem de muitas empresas, a vida de Mildred não é diferente da maioria das famílias norte-americanas.

Opinião completa:
Jul 17, 2008 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is by far the best James M. Cain book I've read. After reading Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice, I was curious about how Cain would translate his hardboiled crime style into a story about a 1930s housewife who is down on her luck but cannot give up, due in part to her aristocratic, haughty daughter. I've always been interested in that decade, and this book did more to illuminate it (and what it might have been like to be a woman in that time) than any other novel for ...more
Mildred Pierce, ventotto anni ben portati, due bambine e un marito inetto e traditore, si ritrova sul lastrico quando decide di divorziare. Non è un buon momento per cedere all'amor proprio: la Grande Depressione proietta una lugubre ombra sull'economia americana, e né Glendale, tranquilla cittadina californiana, né la più popolosa Los Angeles, sembrano avere qualcosa da offrirle. Eppure, Mildred non può più sopportare di stare accanto a Bert, che la tradisce con una vedova dai seni ballonzolant ...more
Dec 08, 2011 Sonia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Recensione natalizia dal blog)
Avere tra le mani Mildred Pierce e leggerlo dopo la valanga di romanzi contemporanei (che siano d'amore, fantasy o di qualsiasi altro genere) è come rientrare a casa dopo un lungo viaggio, mettersi comodi in poltrona e riposarsi, oziando. Perché sappiamo che c'è qualcuno che farà la nostra parte mentre noi prendiamo fiato.
Così ha fatto James Cain: mi ha raccontato questo romanzo e ho avuto l'impressione che dentro ci fosse tutto ciòdi cui avevo bisogno. Come lettri
Shawn Thrasher
Jun 18, 2012 Shawn Thrasher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read a description of Mildred Pierce somewhere that described it as a "hard boiled" novel. I wasn't exactly sure what that meant. But if all hard boiled novels are as juicy and good as Mildred Pierce, then I'm hard boiled. Mildred Pierce had me hooked almost from the first page. Dramatic and melodramatic, Dallas and Dynasty could be direct descendents of Mildred Pierce with the adultery and sultry affairs, the shady business deals, marriages for anything but love, and dames with great legs (al ...more
C.C. Cole
May 14, 2012 C.C. Cole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like many others, I saw the recent Kate Winslet mini-series “Mildred Pierce,” and finally saw the film starring Joan Crawford on Mother’s Day weekend, so I decided to read the book to further explore this story that deviates from many clichés of men, women, and children’s interpersonal relationships.

First, I like period stories that take in as a whole the economic effects, which is expected during the Great Depression. Mr. Cain not only explained it from the viewpoint of the lead character Mildr
Mar 23, 2011 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
before i get started, let me say that i picked this up after reading an awesome interview with todd haynes, whose tv mini-series version of this book is something i'm really looking forward to. you should read it too:

secondly, my only earlier experience with james m. cain comes from the film version of double indemnity. having seen that movie and read this book, i have to say it's a bummer he's not around to weave tales about the current economic tomfooler
EZRead eBookstore
Conveniently in time for the new HBO miniseries, I picked up “Mildred Pierce” knowing in advance it was going to be a firework show. The Joan Crawford “Mildred” is already on my list of must-see films with a mother/daughter slap fight, and I’m WAY into both camp and noir. The book, however, is a lot more subtle and broiling than the crisp black-and-white soap, and I was surprised by James M. Cain’s intimate knowledge the hurricane force of a woman who wants something. This book, without exaggera ...more
Jun 17, 2008 Daniel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
James M. Cain's writing style in "Mildred Pierce" isn't terribly interesting, especially when compared with that of fellow Los Angeles crime novelist Raymond Chandler, and most of the characters are relatively one-dimensional, but the plot and the depiction of pre-war Los Angeles -- specifically the suburbs of Pasadena, Glendale and Laguna Beach -- make up for many of the book's weaknesses. And has there ever been a villain as much fun to hate as Veda Pierce?

While hating Veda is fun, the reader
Kai Coates
I had a conversation with a detective yesterday about gauging how honest a person is being by how detrimental their story is to their own character. And Mildred Pierce is honest like that. Not in a crime sense (this family drama is a bit of a departure from Cain's other well-known noir gems - The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity), but how Cain creates completely realized and generously flawed characters. There is honesty every inch of Mildred - from her thickening waistline to her ...more
Mar 22, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir, pulp, 1940s
With a HBO miniseries of Mildred Peirce (Staring Kate Winslet, Guy Pearce & Evan Rachel Wood) coming up soon; I thought I needed to read this James M. Cain classic. The story of Mildred Pierce follows the titular mother who, during the Great Depression finds herself separated from her husband, opening a restaurant of her own, and falling in love with a new man, all the while trying to earn her daughter's love and respect.

Sounds like a nice little story, right? Wrong; James M. Cain brings his
Oct 16, 2010 Chas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, fiction, favorites, crime
A strange upheaval of the genre Cain helped invent. This isn't a crime novel, in the way that "Double Indemnity" and "The Postman Always Rings Twice" are, but in some ways, the wrongs and misdeeds perpetrated are far worse. Our protagonist is repeatedly undone by a femme fatale, as reprehensible a being as I've ever encountered in fiction. The caveat? The protagonist is a woman, and the femme fatale is her own daughter.
Apr 28, 2009 Eve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2009
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this! It was like a melodramatic soap opera dated 1930s. The things parents do for their children...and ungrateful ones, too! I felt like I'd been transported back in time and I appreciated the author's knowledge on subjects like running a business and art/music. I think it was better than the movie, surprisingly. "Let's get stinko!"
Jan 27, 2015 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Her only crime, if she had committed one, was that she had loved this girl too well."
Jonathan Briggs
Jul 24, 2012 Jonathan Briggs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It bears the Vintage Crime label, but what kind of hard-boiled noir is this? There are no hoods planning elaborate heists. No gat-toting gangsters. No tarnished knights looking for clues down darkened alleys. No deviants stalking helpless dames. No crooked cops, cons or conmen. James Cain furnished two of the foundation stones for what was to become known years later as noir -- "The Postman Always Rings Twice" and "Double Indemnity" -- but in "Mildred Pierce," he largely strips away the external ...more
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James Mallahan Cain was an American journalist and novelist. Although Cain himself vehemently opposed labelling, he is usually associated with the hardboiled school of American crime fiction and seen as one of the creators of the 'roman noir'.

He was born into an Irish Catholic family in Annapolis, Maryland, the son of a prominent educator and an opera singer. He inherited his love for music from h
More about James M. Cain...

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“If you have to do it, you can do it.” 17 likes
“The hand that holds the money cracks the whip.” 14 likes
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