4 stars - recommend
1918 Pulitzer Prize
His Family by Ernest Poole won the first Pulitzer Prize for a novel.
The main character, Walter Gale, a middle-aged widower, opens the book reflecting on his life past and his life to come as he settles into the prelude of retirement. The action takes place in New York City in the 1910's.
As a middle aged person myself, I immediately related to Walter. He felt that his life was just beginning and, sadly, realized that is the feeling one has just about for one's entire life. Things aren't too bad for old Walter.... until they are.
His three daughters don't follow a nicely prescribed course in their lives, and then of course there is the outbreak of World War I. Fortunes made, fortunes lost. What was most striking about this book was how resonant the struggles of the entire family were to me, living almost a century later.
Not much has changed in the human condition. His daughter, Deborah, was particularly interesting as she fought to live a life that was not really proper for a woman and developed a passion for helping inner city immigrants get a foothold in American society.
The writing style is quite accessible to the modern reader and I swallowed this one whole in the course of a few days.