Publisher's Summary

Mildred Pierce had gorgeous legs, a way with a skillet, and a bone-deep core of toughness and determination. She used those attributes to survive a divorce in 1940s America with two children and to claw her way out of poverty, becoming a successful businesswoman. But Mildred also had two weaknesses: a yen for shiftless men and an unreasoning devotion to her monstrous daughter. Out of these elements, Cain created a novel (later made into a film noir classic) of acute social observation and devastating emotional violence - and a heroine whose ambitions and sufferings are never less than recognizable.
©1941 James M. Cain (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"[James M. Cain is] the poet of the hard-boiled school of the American novel." (Washington Post)
"A novel that, once begun, will almost surely be read to the end....it reflects no codes, no restrictions, and none but the primordial necessities. It is a bath in sensation." (New York Times Book Review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By P. Giorgio on 11-03-2011

Mildred -- you pierce my heart

Great quickie read. Terrific rendering of the 1930s - 1940s. But better even was the psychological impact of the book. As the plot surged forward, just when you think you know what is coming, well, something else happens. The twist at the end is delicious. In the end it caused me to shake my head at how little the world has changed. The mother-daughter tensions are wild and real. The title could easily been Veda Pierce. The audio book reader, however was ill-suited for this dark tale of warning. If not a man, then a woman with a less childish, more mature voice with a better sense of pacing and drama would have made this a finer experience. Looking forward to HBOs 5 night presentation of Mildred, played by Kate Winslett (3/27/11).

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14 of 15 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Patrick King on 27-03-2011

A really great American novel

Mildred Pierce is perhaps the greatest work of America's most under rated literary genius. James M. Cain is the inventor of the novel style that today is termed "noir." He is universally known for his crime novels, The Postman Always Rings Twice, and Double Indemnity.

Mildred Pierce is not a crime novel. It explores how the Great Depression impacted the psyche of one American woman, how her dangerous pride, which she instilled with disasterous results in her daughter, drove her to use her common talents and become a very successful business woman at a time when women did not own businesses. Mildred Pierce is an honest novel at a time when people did not discuss the intimate parts of their lives candidly. As with all of Cain's novels, it was way ahead of its time. Unlike some of the other listeners, I very much enjoyed this reader's performance. I highly recommend this audio book as a great story with philosophical depth.

The Hollywood movie from 1945, has very little to do with this novel which has much greater depth and is a more realistic story.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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