An American Tragedy

So I finally finished this book. It was like 856 pages long. I had read it before in High School, but I didn’t remember it very well.

It was about a boy/man named Clyde who grows up without much, and dreams of being so much more, of having wealth and the good life. And while he is out pursuing this he gets into trouble. First an accident in his hometown of Kansas City where a young girl is run over and killed, so he flees to Chicago. He then goes to (I believe New York State) to work for his uncle, where he meets a girl, Roberta, who works for him. They start seeing each other secretly, as he is her boss, and there are rules. All the while he hopes to become friends with beautiful Sondra, friend of his cousin, whom he met at his uncle’s. When he finally catches Sondra’s attentions, things are serious with Roberta and she is pregnant and insists he marry her.

He is able to put her off, hoping she will go away or they can “end” her pregnancy, so he doesn’t lose Sondra. When he can’t put her off any longer, a story of a drowning in the area catches his eye. He begins to imagine (plot) Roberta drowning.

Long story short, he drowns her and is caught. And the evidence is stacked against him. He is tried for the death penalty, but there are so many arguments and his mind is a little off base. A lot of blame is placed on Roberta and even on the events of his life, leading him to “wanting” the good life.

Apparently this is based on a true story that took place in the 1920s when this book was written. It is long… detailed, and somewhat tedious and slow at times, but if you are prepared for that, it’s a very good book.

Hopefully I’ll have time to do some more “non-textbook” reading soon!

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