Alexa SOF2014's Reviews > Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer

Martin Dressler by Steven Millhauser
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's review
Jan 02, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: grade-8-ir-books-betts

This excellent Pulitzer Prize winning novel takes place in New York City at the end of the 19th century. Martin Dressler, the main protagonist, is 14 years old at the beginning of the saga. He works at the Vanderlyn Hotel as a bell boy and also works hard at his father's store. He continues to work his way up by fulfilling his dream of owning many impressive and successful hotels. His first business venture is with his business partner Mr. Dundee. They open a lunch room. In his climb to success he marries the eldest daughter, Caroline of Mrs. Margaret Vernon. Caroline is a very quiet and fragile young lady. He then hires the younger daughter Emmeline as a cashier of a chain of lunch rooms. He ends up believing he has married the wrong sister. Dressler continues to expand his empire by building the impressive 18 story New Dressler Hotel. Caroline continues to give him unhappiness in his marriage. She falls apart one day and tries to fire a gun at the sister in a jealous rage. This effort fails. Dressler continues his visions of grandeur my trying to build a gigantic community filled with restaurants, shopping, parks, and entertainment levels. Unfortunately, he still struggles in his relationship with his wife while trying to live the American dream.

Martin Dressler is incredibly driven for success at the detriment of his personal life. I can't imagine putting all of my time and effort into financial success at the expense of my home life.

I enjoyed reading this tale of an American dream. Martin Dressler's drive and ambition is inspiring yet, I realized something suffered in his life- his family and his marriage. Personal success and happiness are more important to me!

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