5.0 out of 5 stars THE UNKINDEST CUT OF ALL...
Having loved the film, I looked forward to reading this classic novel upon which the film was based. I must say, just as the movie kept me riveted to the screen, the book likewise kept me riveted to its pages. Darker and even more compelling than the film, the author tells the story of Mildred Pierce, a divorcee with two children who is caught in the throes of the...
Published 4 months ago by Lawyeraau
3.0 out of 5 stars Tough-minded Mildred runs out of steam
It's inevitable that most readers should go into this book with the excellent film version starring Joan Crawford in their minds. However, the two are quite different beasts, which is a credit to the strength and originality of both.
This is not a crime novel as the film implied, but a tough Depression era story of a woman determined to get by in a world of snobbery and...
Published on June 19 2003 by verona_beach
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE UNKINDEST CUT OF ALL...,
Professionally successful, Mildred has a talent for picking the wrong men and an irrational devotion to her eldest daughter, Veda, who is morally twisted and totally monstrous. Unfortunately, Mildred does not see her daughter for what she truly is, until it is too late.
Masterfully written and thematically complex, the writing is intense, hard-boiled, and, though redolent of a bygone age, as relevant today as when it was first written. There is an undercurrent of a permeating malaise throughout the book that culminates in a shattering climax. Believe me, you will feel Mildred Pierce's pain, as she discovers how sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child, when Veda delivers the unkindest cut of all. This book is a winner and a true American classic.
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable,
All too often people turn a blind eye to what they refuse to believe, or perhaps can't comprehend - and we see this played out in the interactions of Mildred and her daughter Veda! This adds to the reader's involvement and emotional responses to this stunning and well told novel. A powerful piece of writing!
3.0 out of 5 stars Tough-minded Mildred runs out of steam,
This is not a crime novel as the film implied, but a tough Depression era story of a woman determined to get by in a world of snobbery and class prejudices that even she herself cannot deny that she holds. When she becomes a single mother, Mildred is ashamed to have to take on a job as a waitress to keep her children in the relatively wealthy lifestyle to which they are accustomed. With nothing more than determination, she becomes the mistress of a restaurant empire and a wealthy businesswoman. But none of this is enough to endear her to her spitfire daughter Veda, whom she both dislikes and passionately admires.
It comes as a surprise that the Mildred of Cain's novel is more a Veronica Lake than a Crawford, a short-skirted coquette who uses her physical as well as mental assets to achieve what she needs. More complex is Mildred's relationship with Veda, and the character of Veda herself, a swaggering, overbearing, thoroughly nasty piece of work. If you thought Ann Blyth's Veda was unlikeable, meet this one! It's even more clear here that Mildred's motherly love has turned into unhealthy obsession. Unlike the film, the monster that is Veda is never really exorcised here.
It's the ending of the book which lets the rest down. The final quarter seems hasty - it smacks of an author who is getting a little tired of his characters and has run out of hoops for them to jump through. And while the book closes on a bleak sort of denouement, no real sense of conclusion or capitulation is gained. It should be noted that the ending is considerably different to that of the film, which, to my mind, ended things in a more satisfying matter - which admittedly had a classic crime story structure to its advantage.
Nevertheless, Cain's plain-spoken, tough-minded style and his talents as a storyteller make this a worthwhile read.
5.0 out of 5 stars I finished this book in less than 24 hours,
5.0 out of 5 stars Not like the movie,
Mildred Pierce was filmed at a time when Hollywood still needed to punish evil. James M Cain knew that evil frequently fares quite well in the world.
The movie is a lot of fun all on its own, but don't confuse it with the much more complex novel.
4.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Cain at his Gutsy Best,
5.0 out of 5 stars a mother's love is blind..,
Unable to face reality, Mildred is the victim of her own blindness to her rotten eldest daughter's ways. Not only is her daughter unappreciative, she actually ridicules her mother as being some uncouth and ignorant embarassment. Mildred's toughness melts when confronting her monster daughter, much to her detriment. While a heartbreaking story overall, the ending is especially moving ... have your hankies ready.
Perhaps many folks reading this review has seen the famous film adaption (starring Joan Crawford) of Mildred Pierce. While the film generally carries the intent of James M. Cain's written word, there are several differences. Obviously Hollywood wanted to over-dramatize, or simply invent scenes. As much as I like the movie I enjoyed the book more; I found it to be more personal , intense and believable.
Bottom line: required reading by all mothers, strongly recommended to everyone else.
5.0 out of 5 stars Focus On Mother-Daughter Instead of Man-Woman,
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant portrait of domestic evil,
Excellent character study, and source for the great film which gave Joan Crawford her Oscar®
5.0 out of 5 stars From Rags to Riches to Murder,
Always suspenseful and engaging, the characters in Mildred Pierce are very down to earth and believable. Although I am French and not American, I could identify with Mildred, her hopes and her fears.
This is a great book and highly entertaining.
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Mildred Pierce (Movie Tie-in Edition) by James M. Cain (Paperback - March 22 2011)
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