How Old Is Mother In The Boy In Striiped Pajamas Sinclair Lewis – "The Innocents" Book Review

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Sinclair Lewis – "The Innocents" Book Review

The Innocents Sinclair Lewis was one of two novels published in 1917. The full title of this work is The Innocents: A Story for Lovers and was originally a collection of serialized stories for a women’s magazine. It was Sinclair Lewis’s last recognizable novel.

Innocent, plot summary:

The first characters introduced are a couple, born a decade before the American Civil War, who now live in New York and have been married for 40 years. They are Mr. Seth Appleby and Mrs. Sarah Jane Appleby, often referred to simply as ‘Father’ and ‘Mother’.

They have a married daughter, Lulu, who lives with her husband and young son in New York City. The mother and father are the “innocents” from Sinclair Lewis’s 1917 short novel.

After several decades at Pilkings & Son’s Shoe Parlor, Seth Appleby rose to become Mr. Pilkings, roughly the modern equivalent of Dagwood Bumstead to Julius Dithers, albeit even less respected and less challenging than Dagwood. This is a theme that also appeared in “Our Mr. Wrenn.”

During their annual two-week vacation on Cape Cod, father and mother treat the owners of their vacation home to a snack at Ye Tea Shoppe. Expecting the bill for their snack to be around ninety cents, the father is stunned to be charged $3.60. He calculates that this amount represents a 500% markup on the food served.

Suddenly, in what is billed as a major eye-opening revelation, the idea of ​​running a tea shop seems like an attractive alternative to shoehorning the big city’s tides.

They sell everything they own and open their own Tea Shop on Cape Cod. It doesn’t work. Seth can’t get his old job back. In the end they must wander from New York to West Virginia where they change the manners and morals of the tramp jungle. The tramps split up and begin the legend of two old rich eccentrics who wander the world doing good. Eventually, the Applebys find happiness in the shoe business in small-town Indiana.

If this sounds a bit like fluff, Lewis probably wouldn’t argue. He had an uncanny ability to make a living as a writer because he knew how to quickly deliver “fluffy” stories for the general public to consume.

Sinclair Lewis often had difficulty describing married couples who were equal to each other or at least contributed something close to equal as partners in their “division of labor.” The Innocents are a very notable exception to this, and for all its plot flaws, this novel is one of his best examples of a couple as equals.

Whether you call it travel, flight, wanderlust, dreaming…call it the “greener grass syndrome,” but one of the most persistent themes in both Sinclair Lewis’ personal life and his work is that sheer movement, the pure act of trying something completely new and otherwise, simply hitting the long haul — all or some of these — will almost certainly yield good results, something better.

Now a rare collector’s book, a good copy without dust jacket can easily sell for around $800.

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