Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Turn The Page ... Tuesday

So how far would you go? What would you do if your survival and or your families depended upon your ability to provided for them? I'm not talking about having cable tv, each person having a cell phone, and two cars parked out front ... I mean true survival; food, shelter, warmth ... What if you were in a strange country, didn't know the customs much less the language and had no idea of someone was taking advantage of you? Welcome to The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.


I can definitely say this is not a fast and easy read like so many of my books are. This book took me weeks. There is only so much one can take - the heartache, the deception, the injustices. It's enough to make you sick. When doing a little reading about Sinclair I discovered that he was disheartened that the ruckus made about the book was not the deplorable conditions that immigrants and other laborers were living in but that the product they were producing for the big conglomerate was tainted. Let me back up. "The Jungle" is the story of a family of Lithuanians who come to America following a dream only to live a nightmare. They are immediately sent spiralling down the road of destruction and destitution. The choices they have to make are appalling - remove the children from school so they can earn their keep (at the tender age of 11) - return to work after giving birth 3 days before so you won't be replaced - sleep in the streets (even when the temperature is below zero) because the cost of a street car is more than you have in your pocket - taking drugs in order to tolerate your new profession: prostitution.

I know our country has progressed greatly over the past 100+ years but I couldn't help but wonder 'how much'. Sinclair was disappointed that his book gained attention for the tainted meat and not the social injustices; I was a little surprised that they end of they book was solely focused on Socialism; thus making "The Jungle" a very controversial book for it's time. It even drew attention from President Theodore Roosevelt.

If you like history (and are thankful for the FDA!) you should add this book to your list of reads. It certainly impacted how we enjoy our lives today!

12 comments:

Paula said...

Very interesting! I don't know a thing about this book, but will certainly add it to my list of "to be read's". It will be interesting to compare the then to our now, knowing that there are still people who live like that in our country.

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

Interesting. I don't know that I could handle it just yet.

I finished The Road a few months ago and it was kind of the same way for me. VERY depressing book but I could not leave it.

Heather Jane said...

I finally posted a book review!!! I'm actually reading We Were the Mulvaney's right now, but I'm not done yet, so it's for next month.

Surprisingly I have not yet read The Jungle. I need to, but it scares me. Which is why I need to...

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

I remember this book well. My son just read it in school and he was quite put off meat for a while (of course, we're back to hamburgers and hot dogs -- hey, it's summer!).

Paige said...

Oh wow, that sounds incredibly intense! Lately all I really want to read is easy-breezy page-turners, but I'll keep this one in my back pocket for when I'm feeling like it's time for something heavy-duty.

Debi said...

Thanks again for hosting this Adrienne! I have never read "The Jungle"... but it's going on my "to read" list.

Jill said...

Ooooh, Mr. Linky is fun!

The Jungle looks like a challenge... kind of like survival, I guess.

Thanks!

Dottie @ Tadlafleur said...

I have been enjoying everyone's posting on the books they have read so I thought I would show you a small chunk of what I have been reading.

Stacey's Treasures said...

Wow, this sounds like an disturbing read & a true story at that.

Yolanda said...

I have never read this one either. I will have to add it to my list.

queen of everything said...

i've actually already read this one. it was required when i was a freshman in high school. i am trying to reread all of those books as an adult, hoping for better appreciation of them. the jungle was just as tough the second time through.

jewels50 said...

This is the first blog I have read from start to finish. It was a learning experience as well as an enjoyment. I hope to get as good some day.