The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Genre: Fiction, Classic
Paperback, 400 pages
Book Source: the library
My Rating: DNF therefore no rating
In this powerful book we enter the world of Jurgis Rudkus, a young Lithuanian immigrant who arrives in America fired with dreams of wealth, freedom, and opportunity. And we discover, with him, the astonishing truth about "packingtown," the busy, flourishing, filthy Chicago stockyards, where new world visions perish in a jungle of human suffering. Upton Sinclair, master of the "muckraking" novel, here explores the workingman's lot at the turn of the century: the backbreaking labor, the injustices of "wage-slavery," the bewildering chaos of urban life. The Jungle, a story so shocking that it launched a government investigation, recreates this startling chapter in our history in unflinching detail. Always a vigorous champion on political reform, Sinclair is also a gripping storyteller, and his 1906 novel stands as one of the most important -- and moving -- works in the literature of social change.
This was a book club pick for the club I was in way back when in 2009. I really tried to read this one but I just couldn't finish. I got about 180 pages in and that was enough for me. I will not go into the gory details because believe me they are gory, disgusting, unbelievable, and mind boggling. However, this is how it was back then. That's why Sinclair wrote this book exposing the ills of the meat packing industry. My God how they treated people, who were mostly immigrants, and how they pulled the wool over the public's eyes. Let me tell you, it makes you think about what goes on today as well in the food industry.
That is one of the reasons why I couldn't finish the book. I like meat, and I don't want to know, fictional or not, where my tasty steak comes from. Yes, I am an ignorant Amercian in this respect, and I'm okay with that. This is a very depressing story and at the time I was reading this, I was in the middle of some scary health concerns. Therefore, the last thing I wanted to do was read a depressing story. So I pout the book down. I did skim through the remainder, and the story didn't get any better. Poor Jurgis. My heart truly went out to him, and all of the characters in this story. It is a sad reminder of again, what people will do to one another in the name of greed or just plain meanness.