Arrowsmith – Sinclair Lewis

Jun 29

Arrowsmith – Sinclair Lewis

My never-ending quest to read all of the Pulitzer Prize winners for fiction has taken me to some exotic places. Arrowsmith took me right to my own home. This novel by Sinclair Lewis (who refused the Pulitzer but later accepted a Nobel Prize, stick to your guns, guy) is perhaps the greatest example of the perfect book at the perfect time in my life.
Dr. Martin Arrowsmith (feel free to make inappropriate Steven Tyler references, as I did) is a young man who decides to pursue a life dedicated to medicine. The book is an acutely accurate portrayal of what a young doc goes through. Though it was published in 1925, much of it still rings true today.
I did not exactly enjoy Arrowsmith’s personality traits. He was extremely egocentric and had some wandering-eye issues. I did enjoy the way that Sinclair Lewis painted a picture of the struggle we each must go through: how to be true to yourself and balance that with the expectations of society. Arrowsmith is meant to be a researcher, but he jumps through a million other hoops trying to please his wife, his colleagues, and his mentors.
Lewis expertly paints a picture of the medical profession. There were many parallels to my husband’s path through medical school, which is why Arrowsmith was such a timely suggestion.
The author made up several town/city names in the book. The husband and I will henceforth refer to any small town as “Wheatsylvania.”
The lesson here is to follow your true calling. My side advice to you all: marry an intelligent person that you can have long conversations with about books such as this, for that is priceless.

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