I just finished the novel Mildred Pierce and I am a bit unnerved at how much I loved it. From the very first chapter, the main character of Mildred astounded me with her tenacity and drive. I was rooting for her throughout the novel. When I was a teen, I read The World According to Garp and became obsessed with the character of TS Garp. I've often said Garp is my favorite fictional character because of his spirit. Mildred Pierce is right up there at the top of the list. I had just read the other two Cain classics, Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice, so I was not expecting a story about a woman who starts baking pies in her home after kicking her husband out of the house. Coming off those two Cain Classics, I was totally surprised to be reading as this suburban drama unfolded. It was a bit like Revolutionary Road or American Beauty, but set in an earlier time period. At times, I thought this was a great alternative to the Ayn Rand character of Dagny Taggart. In my opinion, Mildred Pierce better represents the gumption of American entrepreneurial spirit, even with her flaws.
I can't recommend this novel highly enough. I read The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce and Selected Stories Edition.