CLASSIC CLUB CHALLENGE

One challenge from 2022 that I wish to carry over into 2023 is the Classic Club Challenge. In 2022, I decided to read a classic every other month through December 31st. This year I will do the same.

January/ February I decided to read Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here because it was our January book for our Tuesday Night Readers Book Club at the Alvin Library.

I read this classic as an e-book on Hoopla, and although I can’t honestly say I liked it, it certainly made me think. What follows are some of the things that came up at the discussion of the book club.

One of the members commented on the interesting characters’ names. Buzz Winthrop, for example created quite a buzz, and Winthrop is definitely a WASP name. A former history teacher added that Buzz was based on a real person, Huey Long who “took over” the government of Lousiana.

Sinclair Lewis was married to a foreign journalist, who at one point, interviewed Hitler, and she alerted Lewis to the situation in Germany, and even earlier in Italy with Mussolini, where the masses were so fed up with their situations that they bought into the promises made by both of these dictators.

We agreed that it COULD happen here–in America; it could happen anywhere. We also agreed that the book was NOT an easy read . There were so many characters to keep straight, for one thing. One member said the novel was a treatise on how to take down a government, and another referred to the quote, “All that’s necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.” This is what happens in Lewis’s story. People are often willing to go along with evil because evil seems to prosper. This novel is a cautionary tale and our takeaway was “It CAN happen here.”

RAE 1/24/23

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