In Mildred Pierce, noir master James M. Cain creates a novel of acute social observation and devasting emotional violence, with a heroine whose ambitions and sufferings are never less than recognizable.
Mildred Pierce had gorgeous legs, a way with a skillet, and a bone-deep core of toughness. She used those attributes to survive a divorce and poverty and to claw her way out of the lower middle class. But Mildred also had two weaknesses: a yen for shiftless men, and an unreasoning devotion to a monstrous daughter.
Cain's classic novel, and the source for the 1945 film starring Joan Crawford, makes its way onto audio with this reading by actor and singer Williams. Cain's purple prose and then-scandalous dialogue take on new life under Williams's direction, her assured tone underscoring the legendary noir writer's rip-roaring tale of a woman scorned who survives no-good men and a hateful daughter to make it in 1930s Los Angeles. Williams is out of her depth encountering tense or high-pitched dialogue, reading it in a clipped monotone that does little for Cain's drama, but is on far stronger ground with the rest of the book, which flourishes under her steady, patient, ever-so-slightly melancholic gaze. Williams's reading lacks the rage that moved Crawford's Mildred, but her version of the now-familiar story amplifies our sense of Cain's heroine as an abandoned woman who finds her own way, on her own terms.
Read this to prepare to see the movie. It is delightful in it's own right..engrossing the reader in a multi-faceted story.DISMISS
Loved this story of success and failure, love and heartache. Mildred, whose only fault was loving too much, is a woman with heavy burdens to bear and a lot to prove. The reader is effectively transported to 1930s America as the story is decorated with real events of the era. Highly recommend this intriguing tale and the HBO mini-series of the same name.