Alone in the city, a young woman meets a man who promises to make her dreams come true. Eighteen-year-old Carrie is drawn to the glamour, wealth, and excitement of Chicago. But to be part of this glittering world, she will need much more money than she can even imagine. The only jobs she can find offer harsh conditions and little pay. Finally, inexperienced and desperate, she allows the smooth-talking salesman Charles Drouet to buy her meals and pretty clothes. Will Carrie ever find true happiness? And how much will she have to give up to get what she wants?
Theodore Dreiser's unsparing story of a country girl's rise to riches as the mistress of a wealthy man marked the beginning of the naturalist movement in America. Both its subject matter and Dreiser's objective, nonmoralizing approach made it highly controversial, and only a heavily edited version could be published in 1900.