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The story of Carol Milford, a free-spirited young woman from St. Paul, Minnesota. She marries Will Kennicott, a country doctor in the town of Gopher Prairie, who is several years older than she is. As she moves to Gopher Prairie she is shocked by how backward the town is and makes attempts to change it. She holds parties for their circle of friends, tries to renovate the city hall, reform the library, and starts a drama club. In all her efforts she is derided and criticized by the townsfolk. She only finds the kind of companionship she seeks in some of the town's misfits and lower-classes, but it is never satisfying for her. It bothered me that Carol knew she was marrying a small town doctor, yet she never was satisfied with her husband and her life. She kept wanting others to accept her beliefs without trying to understand their beliefs. I found Carol arrogant and selfish.
Published in 1920, the story takes place in the 1910s and deals with a lot of the social issues prominent then. There are frequent mentions of socialism and worker uprisings coupled with criticisms of capitalism. However, Lewis portrays the townsfolk as provincial and petty in their gossip and back-stabbing, and frequently hypocritical. He isn't always kind to the city-dwellers. But he also makes frequent contrasts between how different people view things.
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