Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Book Review: Ragtime, by E.L. Doctorow

Genre: Historical fiction, Literature
Date Published: 1974
Publisher: Random House
# Of Pages: 270


Synopsis: Welcome to turn-of-the-century America, where Scott Joplin's ragtime sets the beat and passionate vitality sets the tone. Harry Houdini astounds audiences with feats of magic escape while J.P. Morgan rules the world of finance like a Roman emperor. Emma Goldman preaches revolution, free love, and feminism; Henry Ford builds cars by turning men into machines. And a beautiful ex-chorus girl named Evelyn Nesbit sparks the murder of a great architect by a mad millionaire. These real-life characters mingle with a Lower East Side Jewish peddler, a black musician from Harlem, and a rebellious young middle-class WASP in the classic E.L. Doctorow novel that weaves a spellbinding story into a vibrant mosaic of a time, a place, and a people losing their innocence and giving birth to an age when anything and everything goes.

My Rating:
 ★★ 1/2
.....For being extremely well-written

My Thoughts:

Wow, what a story!  It's a novel that is technically historical fiction, but the author integrates real people and events so accurately into his story that you can't even tell where historical facts end, and fiction begins!
The writing style reflects this feeling of reading a true story.  There are no quotation marks anywhere, and the phrases are short and precise.  It gives you the sense of a documentary or a history book, rather than your typical novel, yet the flow of novel feels extremely smooth, enough to keep you captivated from start to finish.
The story itself is sad, yet hopeful.  You follow in the footsteps of multiple characters struggling to find purpose and happiness in their lives during the early years of the 20th century.  It is beautiful, tragic, and captivating all at once.
This was a high school read that I never finished, and always wished I did.  Now that I have, I find that this is one of those works of literature that will forever stay with you.  I can't think of any more adjectives that can accurately describe what a gem this book is.  All I can say is: if you haven't read this yet, put it on your TBR now, because it's a book worth reading.

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