" I read every word of the first twelve chapters of this book, and began chapter 13 but didn't finish it. The book sat unopened, untouched, for more than a month. This is from the Wikipedia article on the book, and I agree wholeheartedly: "The middle third of the novel reveals Babbitt in various settings: on vacation, attending a business convention, campaigning for the conservative mayoral candidate, giving dinner parties, giving speeches, attempting (in vain) to climb socially, serving as a member of the Sunday School Advisory Committee of the Chatham Road Presbyterian Church, and so on. This section of the novel has drawn criticism about the thread of the plot becoming lost; critics have argued that Lewis seems to move aimlessly from one set-piece to another." It was fiercely aimless and had no thread whatsoever. I began to wonder if he would ever do more than drive to work, drive back again, and sit in the living room after dinner reading his newspaper, because we got that in great detail over and over.
The amusing thing about the book is the lexicon of slang. It's a piece of cake to understand, but evidently when this book was released in England it had to have a glossary inserted. The slang, the spoken language, is an absolute hoot. If you're not after plot or anything more than a day-to-day description of life in cities in the midwest in the very early 1920s, it's great for that. The writing is amusing (props to Sinclair Lewis, and Babbitt is a comical character. We can see him much more clearly than he can see himself.
But in terms of plot, sigh. It was hard to muscle through. I confess that I finally finished it only with help from SparkNotes and MonkeyNotes online. I had to read the quick summaries to figure out if anything interesting was going to happen (funnily, it began to go pear-shaped later on in the very chapter 13 I had abandoned) and I'd go and read a bit of that chapter then move on to summaries again. So now I know the SparkNotes version of Babbitt, and have read, I'd estimate, 50% of the book. It was mildly interesting, but just not my cup of tea.
I read it online at Bartleby. If by any chance you want to take a peek: Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis. "
— Alyson, 2/2/2014