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Extended Audio Sample Sister Carrie Audiobook, by Theodore Dreiser Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.52 out of 53.52 out of 53.52 out of 53.52 out of 53.52 out of 5 3.52 (85 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Theodore Dreiser Narrator: C. M. Hébert Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455175987
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When small-town girl Carrie Meeber sets out for Chicago, she is equipped with nothing but a few dollars, a certain unspoiled beauty and charm, and a pitiful lack of preparation for the complex moral choices she will face. Adrift in an indifferent city, she struggles from the sweatshop to stage success and inspires an obsessive love in a married man twice her age—which threatens to destroy him.

Dreiser transforms the conventional fallen-woman story into a genuinely original work of imaginative fiction. He hurls his impressionable eighteen-year-old heroine into the amoral world of the big city and reveals, with powerful insight, the driving forces of our culture: America’s restless idealism, glamorous material seductions, and spiritual innocence. Many consider this the greatest novel on urban life ever written.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Its outstanding merit is its simplicity, its unaffected seriousness and fervor.”

    H. L. Mencken

  • “Dreiser’s great first novel…came to housebound and airless America like a great free Western wind, and to our stuffy domesticity gave us the first fresh air since Mark Twain and Whitman.”

    Sinclair Lewis

  • “Absolutely free from the slightest trace of sentimentality or pettiness, and dominated everywhere by a serious and strenuous desire for truth.”

    Academy

  • “It is a cruel, merciless story, intensely clever in its realism, and one that will remain impressed in the memory of the reader for many a long day.”

    London Express

  • One of Modern Library's 100 Best English-Language Novels of the Twentieth Century

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleen | 2/20/2014

    " I rushed to get back to this book every day to see how Carrie's character developed and how she was influenced by others and her surroundings. It was really fascinating. This was juxtaposed beautifully with the changes that took place in Hurstwood. I"m not sure how I feel about the ending, but I'm still thinking about it and I guess thats the important thing. Without giving anything away, it apparently wasn't the ending Dreiser originally wrote. I think I prefer the original but the book means something completely different depending on which one you go with so I don't know what to think! But I can't imagine a better way to have spent my lunch hours lately. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pete Sharon | 2/17/2014

    " This book has a decent claim to the title of Most Depressing American Novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sundry | 2/17/2014

    " I've reread this book at least five times. It's one of my all time favorites. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Holley | 2/3/2014

    " Perhaps it is because this book is rather dated, but I only found this book to be ok. I found it very old-fashioned and prudish at times - though I am sure it was quite the scandal in its day! It was a day's worth of light reading, something to pass the time. But I would not label it as a favorite of mine. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Finola | 2/1/2014

    " on my to re-read list "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennie C. | 1/28/2014

    " I can understand how the premise of this novel was was a big deal in its time. But the characters are so boring. The story is so boring. Everything about it is tepid. I wouldn't recommend this book to a soul. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Xdw | 1/28/2014

    " long and slow. of only some interest "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sheree Beissner | 1/25/2014

    " I know it's supposed to be a classic but I thought it was terrible. I couldn't even finish it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kay | 1/22/2014

    " Can't believe I hadn't read this long ago. Two of my kids said they had read it in HS. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michele | 1/20/2014

    " This said it was the Unexpurgated Version. I can't imagine what there was to expurgate. Boring, boring, boring, and I couldn't stand the main character. Selfish, vain, heartless, shallow, unintelligent -- need I go on? I know it's supposed to be a classic but...why? I avoided reading this book for years because based on the title I thought it was about a nun. I wish I'd continued avoiding it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Greg | 1/17/2014

    " It was here that I found my talent for simple-minded, reductive analysis. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristina | 1/15/2014

    " Such a frustrating book, yet I still had to finish it as quickly as possible. Seriously, Carris is possibly one of the most annoying characters on the face of the planet. She could give Scarlet a run for her money. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jonathan | 1/14/2014

    " decent book. was expecting mo' betta' since it was a recommendation from a friend. would NOT recommend reading if you aren't happy at your job already. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 1/13/2014

    " good story well written good characters "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jgknobler | 1/9/2014

    " In 1889 a young woman from a small midwestern town travels to Chicago in search of life and glamour; and is convinced to follow a lover to New York after he embezzles some money. I finished it this time, unlike my first attempt in the 8th grade. Pieces of this novel are interesting--Carrie's search for work when she first comes to Chicago; and Hurstwood's harrowing decline. But much of it is boring, and it definitely lacks the urgency of "An American Tragedy," which is one of my favorites. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ronald | 1/9/2014

    " Very preachy, in a Naturalist sort of way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Corky | 1/8/2014

    " Written over a century ago, Dreiser's tale of love, greed, and obsession can still be found in the world today. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 1/8/2014

    " As a former Chicagoan I enjoyed Theodore Dreiser's tale of a small town girl coming to the city and making her way through life balancing the societal constraints on women's roles with love and survival. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff Laughlin | 1/6/2014

    " This is one of the best books in the English Language. The Norton Critical Series, once again, failed to disappoint. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 1/5/2014

    " I'm honestly surprised that, given the somewhat plodding storyline and 500 page count, I enjoyed this book as much as I did. I loved the descriptions of Chicago and New York, as well as the moral questions raised by Carrie's actions and place in the world as a female. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin M | 12/31/2013

    " I can't believe it took me so long to read this book, but I really enjoyed it. Even though it comes from a simple enough place, Dreiser actually weaves a pretty complicated story of wealth and poverty, following one's heart, morality, and ideas about work and gender roles. I think a novel like this still holds up today. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy Nguyen | 12/30/2013

    " Man, I love realism. I had to write an essay about this book, and I had way more fun that I should have (seriously, someone needs to lock me up). It was kind of a dense read, but it was well worth it. It definitely makes you think about having an identity versus the power of not having one. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Diana | 12/29/2013

    " Way too depressing, even for me. And that's saying something. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Kay | 12/22/2013

    " Still one of my favorites! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hannah | 12/9/2013

    " I had hopes that this book would take a turn for the optimistic, but the last line made me want to go eat a whole tub of ben and jerry's ice cream. But of course the most depressing books are usually some of the best. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andy Ball | 12/7/2013

    " Two people riding the wheel of fortune "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sue | 12/6/2013

    " While not the easiest read, in the end I enjoyed the insight into life for a single woman in Chicago many years ago and how her choices impact the lives around her. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mell | 12/5/2013

    " a horrid book. supposedly one of the best novels of the 20th century. (surprise, the winners are mostly men!) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teresa | 11/23/2013

    " Good quick read. Very McTeague in its structure in regards to the main male character. Loved the descriptions of early Chicago and New York. I may find a few of his others to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 noisy penguin | 8/11/2013

    " I was assigned this book in a college literature class. We had about three weeks to read it; I read it in three days. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 7/9/2013

    " I'm honestly surprised that, given the somewhat plodding storyline and 500 page count, I enjoyed this book as much as I did. I loved the descriptions of Chicago and New York, as well as the moral questions raised by Carrie's actions and place in the world as a female. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lynn | 7/2/2013

    " Maybe the drama was lost on me, because I don't appreciate the social mores in place at the time of the story. The book is supposed to chronicle this woman's "downfall" but I failed to understand what the big deal was. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Greg | 6/6/2013

    " It was here that I found my talent for simple-minded, reductive analysis. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ronald | 1/26/2013

    " Very preachy, in a Naturalist sort of way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 1/3/2013

    " I enjoyed this book much more on my second reading. I probably wasn't expecting as much. Dreiser wrote more like the reporter he was than a novelist but the story is a good one and his descriptions of Chicago and New York at the turn of the century are terrific. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cordula | 10/26/2012

    " Wow! This was actually quite a page-turner, occasional awkward prose notwithstanding. Interesting characters and rivetting insight into life at the turn of the (last) century. That Hurstwood--what a pathetic man! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Don | 9/13/2012

    " A great book about the fortunes of Carrie and her lover Hurstwood. Highly recommend. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cordula | 8/26/2012

    " Wow! This was actually quite a page-turner, occasional awkward prose notwithstanding. Interesting characters and rivetting insight into life at the turn of the (last) century. That Hurstwood--what a pathetic man! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Terry | 8/16/2012

    " This 1912 novel was considerably ahead of its time as it depicts the journey of naive, young Carrie, who is initially easy prey for unscrupulous men, but finds a measure of independence and purpose. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ashleyj Brown | 8/7/2012

    " A great read about a young woman wanting to break away from society and the times that are holding her back. A neat love interest makes Carrie's feminist character really shine. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Colleen | 6/3/2012

    " It was ok, but the action had a lot of starting and stopping. It was slow in some points and fast in others, and sometimes the parts get excessively wordy and deviate completely from the characters. All in all, a decent read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Geri P | 5/10/2012

    " One of the few books that has traveled with me for the almost 40 years since college and still on my "re-read when you have time to enjoy" list. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracy | 4/30/2012

    " I read this in high school and I think I liked it, but I'll need to reread it someday. I don't remember much about it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sera | 3/27/2012

    " This classic is an excellent read. It's about a young girl who gets caught up in life in the big city. It's a sad, tragic tale, but Drieser provides an excellent commentary on the urbanization of America. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennie C. | 2/1/2012

    " I can understand how the premise of this novel was was a big deal in its time. But the characters are so boring. The story is so boring. Everything about it is tepid. I wouldn't recommend this book to a soul. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 nitsirkvil | 1/29/2012

    " long, but compelling enough to want to keep reading. More like a three and a half. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanna | 12/29/2011

    " O, such a perfect novel! A survival guide for the young Midwestern woman who happens to find herself living with her sister in the middle of a bleak Chicago winter. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arrivederci | 12/12/2011

    " A very interesting novel to read. The writing was very capturing and the plot was a very good one. It was not a happy ending which brings realism to life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Johanna Lauer | 10/3/2011

    " It definitely got me hooked - in part because I got angry at the characters, but also because it's exciting and never grows boring. Good storytelling pace and moving ending. Recommended! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 9/25/2011

    " Theodore Dreiser is an incredible author. He can really develop a character "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Connie Hess | 8/28/2011

    " an oldie with an interesting twist "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie Hoagland | 8/4/2011

    " I loved this book, but it rang a little too close to home and was severely depressing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cynthia | 5/6/2011

    " This started strong but by the end, I just didn't feel connected to the characters any more. I found myself skimming entire passages just to get through. I was disappointed when I finished. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hilarie | 4/21/2011

    " Not amazingly written literature, but a stunning view of personalities, societal pressures, greed, ambitions, and failings. A little hard to read, with a lot of colloquial expressons in the dialog, but an interesting commentary on the times, and a study of what drives people to do certain things. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kmkoppy | 4/21/2011

    " This was a great book for history lovers. It's an interesting comment on women's issues too. I liked it a lot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marie | 4/14/2011

    " thanks god I didn't live then... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Victoria | 4/11/2011

    " Brilliant in every way.One of my favorite books..heartbreakingly beautiful. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Matthew | 4/10/2011

    " About a young girl who hits the big city and is swept away by a sleazy guy . . . or is it? Really cool twist on an old story here. To me this reads more like a Greek Tragedy. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jillian | 4/3/2011

    " i read this thinking that it would be a good story since it was a censored book. note to self: books censored in 1900 are not necessarily interesting reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 3/31/2011

    " I couldn't decide between three and four stars. It was a little slow at times and kind of sad, but I loved the main theme dealing with the pursuit of happiness/the grass is always greener. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy | 3/20/2011

    " Memorable characters. Worth seeing Carrie become a person independent of the men who keep her. (It takes so long, though.)

    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 3/18/2011

    " Extremely bleak novel--a naturalist masterpiece. The strength of the story overcomes Dreiser's own serious failings as a stylist. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Angela | 2/26/2011

    " Poorly written and devoid of any real human emotion. I tried to make myself finish this book but couldn't endure the slow torture any longer. "

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About the Author
Author Theodore Dreiser

Theodore Dreiser (1871–1945), American novelist, was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, and attended Indiana University. He began his writing career as a newspaperman, working in Chicago, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh. His first novel, Sister Carrie (1900), was purchased by a publisher who thought it objectionable and made little effort to promote its sale. With the publication of The Financier in 1912, he was able to give up newspaper work and devote himself to writing. He became known as one of the principal exponents of American naturalism, and in 1944, he was awarded the Merit Medal for Fiction by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

About the Narrator

C. M. Hébert is an Earphones Award winner and Audie Award nominee. She is the recording studio director for the Talking Books Program at the Library of Congress’ National Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her husband, daughter, cat, and assorted fish.