I read Sinclair Lewis' Main Street (1920) one year ago, and I can easily say that it was the book that got me roving down this "flyover land" road. It filled me with so many thoughts. Many times I wanted to reach into Lewis' Sauk Centre grave and shake the man awake, ask him if his Minnesota hometown was really that bad. Other times, I had to stay quiet, admit that his less-than-glowing observations were (from my own small-town experience) spot on.
It's an interesting and important question for a writer: what do you choose to show? I guess, if you're honest, the best answer is "all of it." But we each see the world so differently. The moment you stop writing for yourself, you are bound to get something for someone else wrong.
So, just tell the truth, then, in the ways you know how: an image, an emotion, a character, one word after another.
I've always thought of you, Mr. Lewis, as the sullen boy at the back of the classroom, and I doubt if we'd have had much comfort between us. But I thank you for your book. Because even though you're long gone, your words still make me think over important things in a way a lot of other people's don't.
MinnPost - 80 years after Nobel Prize, Sauk Centre remembers Sinclair Lewis