Around 450 pages
Welcome to the 1900s! This is actually a good representation of what's in store for the next century, at least in terms of American literature. No more happy endings and the American Dream is dead. I can't wait!
18-year-old Carrie Meeber takes the train to Chicago, intending to stay with her sister and brother-in-law and fulfill her dreams of becoming a stage actress. On the train, she meets Charles Drouet, a salesman who thinks she is a snack. Carrie starts working at a factory, and naturally wishes that she didn't have to. She starts planning more creative ways of paying the rent. Sort of like the American Nana.
So this was pretty great. There are certainly a lot of books like this that come after it, which really speaks to its influence. Of course, that somewhat undermines the enjoyment, because the story feels very predictable now.
There are more powerful novels that expand on these themes later, but this is still pretty good, and worth a read.
Theodore Dreiser gave up on this manuscript several times and had trouble finding a publisher.
UP NEXT: Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad.