NormBlog – The Weblog of Norman Geras
December 09, 2008

Writer’s choice 184: Melissa Benn
Melissa Benn is a journalist, campaigner and novelist. She writes regularly for The Guardian. Her books include Public Lives, Madonna and Child: Towards a New Politics of Motherhood, and (with Clyde Chitty) A Tribute to Caroline Benn: Education and Democracy. Her latest novel, One of Us, will be released in Vintage paperback early in 2009. Below Melissa writes about Theodore Dreiser’s Jennie Gerhardt.

Melissa Benn on Jennie Gerhardt by Theodore Dreiser

It is not always easy to write about a favourite book or even to understand why some works are so much more meaningful to us than others. But with Jennie Gerhardt, Theodore Dreiser’s second and intensely tragic novel, I am acutely aware of how much of the book’s power is, for me, tied to memories of the last days in the life of my mother, Caroline Benn, proud American, socialist, scholar, lover of 19th-century novels and a great admirer of Dreiser.

(Read it here)