On the back cover of my copy of The Jungle, there was a quote by Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) which read:
"I wrote with tears and anguish, pouring intoOn the back cover of my copy of The Jungle, there was a quote by Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) which read:
"I wrote with tears and anguish, pouring into the pages all the pain that life had meant to me."
I think that this quote sums up the book for this is how I felt as I read this book. It was quite sad and incredibly moving. It has been a long time since a book moved me enough to actually cry. I cried not only because of the obvious reasons of the pain and suffering that these characters went through but also because it was so thought-provoking. In a very real way, it describes the unfairness of life and the sheer struggles of poverty. It is also gruesome and horrifying in many ways as well. I realize that it is most likely considered sensationalized like an example of a "muckraking" novel since Sinclair was known as a socialist journalist, but it still captivated me. I couldn't help but read what he had written. The Jungle was published in 1906. According to Wikipedia:
"The novel was first published in serial form in 1905. "After five rejections", its first edition as a novel was published by Doubleday, Page & Company on February 28, 1906, and it became an immediate bestseller. It has been in print ever since."
The novel follows the life of Jurgis Rudkus who with his family, Ona, Elzbieta and her children, Marija and Jonas immigrates to the U.S. and in order to provide for his family he starts right off working in Chicago's meat packing plants. At first he is a young and capable hard worker but as he continues his menial job in the meat packing plants he learns and sees things that he wouldn't ever want to know of. The stress of the long working days and what he experiences wear on him but he continues for the good of his family. His options are very limited and a language barrier also proves to be very difficult in his ability to express himself which leads to a fear of being cheated and more frustration of not understanding all that he feels he should be able to. He continues to work hard in order to overcome these barriers in order to find a way to survive. All of this leads to a combination of decisions that the family desperately try to make together but in the end leads to more trouble for all of them. Although, the descriptions from the meat packing plants were awful I also didn't like the descriptions from when Jurgis gets a job in the fertilizer plants. At that time, the meat packing descriptions were what attracted the attention of the public and eventually demanded legislation. Sinclair had actually wanted change for the workers at the time and had stated:
"I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach."
I understand that Sinclair was hoping to promote socialism, which is quite evident in the latter part of the book, and necessary help for the poor but I am glad for today that change was brought about for the food industry, owed in part perhaps to this book for the meat packing industry, and that we now have an FDA. Overall, this is a compelling read and a definitive classic.
In the back of the book, Dr. Barry Sears who wrote The Zone which is another book about our U.S. diets and the food industry, sums up this book best with his quote:
"Sinclair showed the power that one man writing a book can have to change a nation. It is a rare accomplishment, and it makes The Jungle a testimony to the power of the written word to transcend far beyond and change the very fabric of a society."
Love can be a daunting task to write about because it's not easily described into words but Marisa de los Santos doMore of my original review here.
Love can be a daunting task to write about because it's not easily described into words but Marisa de los Santos does it beautifully, even majestically, in Love Walked In. I enjoyed how it penetrated deep into my mind with its endearing and thoughtful scenes filled with words that added perspective and made me feel. I found it to be similar to watching a classic movie in black and white. It takes some effort to watch, for without the color, it can seem boring but as I pay attention, really listen, all the while really watching the actor's facial expressions and mannerisms then I simply use more of my senses in order to be transcended into where it really starts to live and takes on a whole new experience in your mind...
This book stands out to me because it is the first book I read that really hooked me on to classic literature. I love the impact this book had on me!This book stands out to me because it is the first book I read that really hooked me on to classic literature. I love the impact this book had on me! I feel it inspired my love of reading! ...more
I listened to the audio of the 1938 Radio Play that accompanied this book. For me, it was an eventful way to spend an hour. I would recommend it to others to spend an hour of their time to listen to the radio play. I think it entertains better and faster than the book....more
Throughout this book, I was hoping for some more "hopeful moments" but those didn't show up until about pg. 172 which now I consider was how it was most likely meant to be and perhaps the point of the book. There were scenes in the book that I don't care to ever remember and I didn't like how it made me feel. This book seemed to be paced fairly well for this type, I think....more
I did like the premise of book starting with a three week stay at a role-playing resort in England called Austenland, a complete immersion into Austen's world for obsessed fanatics such as Jane....more
Initially, I wasn't enthralled with this book but since I've read it so many parts of it, especially about the elephants, have stayed with me in a very real and thought-provoking way. I recently went to the Zoo and saw the single elephant that lives there. I couldn't help but feel my heart twinge because I now realize how social they are and this poor elephant is all alone at our Zoo. ...more
So, I went into reading this book without expectation at all. I also tried to give up any preconceived notions I had on heaven. Perhaps, this is bestSo, I went into reading this book without expectation at all. I also tried to give up any preconceived notions I had on heaven. Perhaps, this is best way to read it because, surprisingly, I enjoyed it better than I thought I would.
Original review found here. I have been aiming to read this book all year and I promised myself I'd have it read by the end of '09 so I made it! NowOriginal review found here. I have been aiming to read this book all year and I promised myself I'd have it read by the end of '09 so I made it! Now, I'm thinking why did I wait so long to read a book that is near perfection? Beautiful writing, a superb pace, captivating premise, honest characters, plus a whole lot more of great storytelling. Okay, so the book is perfectly brilliant! I enjoyed it to a magnificent degree. It gripped me from the first line:
"The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit."
I also found that I really loved the main character, Tally, most of the time. I was always curious about her and what her motives really were. She kept me guessing and it was an emotional ride for me which I consider to be fun! I also really liked her friend, Shay. She had the purest heart and tried her best to be a good friend. I am squeamish and I was glad to find out that there wasn't a lot of description or gore that I had wondered about with the "pretty" operations. So, that was a relief. I'm already reading the next book in the series, Pretties, when I'm supposed to be reading a pile of other books for book groups etc... Doesn't that say it all?...more
I loved how this book has interwoven crime and basketball. It is very intriguing and had a great pace all the way through. Pablo remains one of my favI loved how this book has interwoven crime and basketball. It is very intriguing and had a great pace all the way through. Pablo remains one of my favorite fictional men as he is helpful to Julia in her time of need. Make time to read this book. ...more
As a young woman, I used to dream about being famous, like a Hollywood Star. I used to think; "Wouldn't it be great to 'have it all'?" Star Shining BrAs a young woman, I used to dream about being famous, like a Hollywood Star. I used to think; "Wouldn't it be great to 'have it all'?" Star Shining Brightly explores that theme. I really think that you will enjoy this book. It's a delightful read and very personable....more