Dan Schwent 's Reviews > Mildred Pierce

Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain
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Apr 10, 13

bookshelves: crime-and-mystery, cool-covers, 2012
Read from August 15 to 21, 2012

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 is good though I didn't think it was as powerful as that of Double Indemnity or Postman. Still, it had its moments. My favorite quote was “The hand that holds the money cracks the whip.”

It wasn't the easiest book to read, however. I couldn't get behind any of the characters and I really wanted someone to start plotting to bump someone off. Mildred pretty much deserved all the crap that came her way, especially since she was glad Veda wasn't the child of hers that died. A lot of double crosses would have been great, (view spoiler)

Until Mildred Pierce, I thought James M. Cain was a one trick pony. Granted, he did that one trick very well in The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity. Mildred Pierce shows that Cain had some serious writing chops even when not writing about married women and their lovers bump off their husbands. Three stars.

Also posted at Shelf Inflicted
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Quotes Dan Liked

James M. Cain
“The hand that holds the money cracks the whip.”
James M. Cain, Mildred Pierce


Reading Progress

08/16/2012 page 32
13.0%
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Comments (showing 1-25 of 25) (25 new)

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Samantha Glasser This made a great movie. I hope the book has some surprises.


message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent I've never seen the movie or the recent miniseries so I'm going in fresh. I wanted to read more Cain before The Cocktail Waitress.


message 3: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook Mildred - the movie - is better than the book.


message 4: by Katy (new)

Katy Hmm, Mildred's husband sounds like my first one ... *shudders*


message 5: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook There's always a first one. On to the Next.


message 6: by Katy (new)

Katy Sketchbook wrote: "There's always a first one. On to the Next."

Yup. For me, third time was the charm. I've been told I'm overly optimistic - most would have stopped at two... :-)


message 7: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook Ok. Enuf. Now you must love-in-sin.


message 8: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten I was just responding to Tfitoby's review of Double Indemnity this morning and mentioned that I took a Film Literature class where we read the book and watched the film. Mildred Pierce was on the syllabus. I still like reading the book and watching the movie inspired by the book. One of my favorite classes from college.


message 9: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent That sounds like a fun class.


message 10: by Katy (new)

Katy Sketchbook wrote: "Ok. Enuf. Now you must love-in-sin."

Nah, if it happens again I'll just be a lesbian. They can't get married, yet, in most states...


message 11: by Sketchbook (last edited Aug 21, 2012 12:38PM) (new)

Sketchbook I agree. W a But. Film classes seem focused on novels-made-into-movies. Can't we have an orig POV in film studies? (Message #9) ~~ #10, just be Original.


message 12: by Steve (new)

Steve The mini series was great. (And so is that new profile picture! We're behind on BB, and just saw the episode where that guy shows up.)


message 13: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Steve wrote: "The mini series was great. (And so is that new profile picture! We're behind on BB, and just saw the episode where that guy shows up.)"

I just finished Season 4 over the weekend. I've got a meth-dealer shaped hole in my TV habits now.


Maureen i liked this one more than you did -- perhaps because it was so much more straightforward and less histrionic than i expected having seen the joan crawford movie, and i liked how it ended. looks like you've covered all his bases! though i do love serenade, and the baby in the icebox (his short story collection).


message 15: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Maureen wrote: "i liked this one more than you did -- perhaps because it was so much more straightforward and less histrionic than i expected having seen the joan crawford movie, and i liked how it ended. looks li..."

I did like the ending. Let's get stink-o.


Samantha Glasser Dan wrote:
I just finished Season 4 over the weekend. I've got a meth-dealer shaped hole in my TV habits now."


I love Breaking Bad! Season 5 leaves you perpetually tense.


message 17: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent After the last two episodes of Season 4, I need a break from TV. The whole Walt vs. Gus thing wore me out.


Melissa Poor Ray.


message 19: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Melissa wrote: "Poor Ray."

Yup. That must have been some pimple.


Melissa Dan wrote: "Melissa wrote: "Poor Ray."

Yup. That must have been some pimple."


Cain gave Ray about the rawest deal in all of literature, if you ask me. A pimple!


message 21: by Kurt (new)

Kurt Dan wrote: "I did like the ending. Let's get stink-o."

I still use "stink-o!" as my frustrated exclamation of choice when there are children present.


message 22: by An Odd1 (new)

An Odd1 I like your whole "cool covers" shelf. Film was too maxi-melodramatical for me. Something about sacrificing herself when daughter murders a guy - or maybe that was another movie. You don't have a "graphic novel" shelf - after "Merchant of Death" I thought I might try more - have you tried any?


message 23: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent AnEyeSpy wrote: "I like your whole "cool covers" shelf. Film was too maxi-melodramatical for me. Something about sacrificing herself when daughter murders a guy - or maybe that was another movie. You don't have a ..."

Check out the four Gotham Central graphic novels on my comics shelf.


message 24: by An Odd1 (new)

An Odd1 Yippee. I was hoping you had a suggestion or three, my good glasses broke (shabby excuse). "Graphic novel" always reminds me of sanitary engineer G-men like Bill the Galactic Hero, so I prefer "comics" too.


message 25: by Kurt (new)

Kurt Reichenbaugh This is a book I really liked, even though it's really a soap opera. I thought the writing was quite good, as was the background into the world of opera, like in Serenade.


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