Was the story beautiful? No. Was it perhaps inspirational or enlightening? Not really, either. Truth be told, the story revolves around a mother, who, although is independent and strong-willed, remains pathetically devoted to her fierce daughter. It's not a very heart-warming tale of love and affection, yet the way James M. Cain captures the essence of Mildred's yearning and infatuation in this story, paralleled with the steady and unflinching development of Veda (her daughter), is very well done.
For me, there were really only 2 note-worthy quotes in the novel:
Still with her first half dozen pies to make, she drove home very late, full of a gulpy love for the whole human race.
A home is not a museum. It doesn't have to be furnished with Picasso paintings, or Sheraton suites, or Oriental rugs, or Chinese pottery. But it does have to be furnished with things that mean something to you. If they're just phonies, bought in a hurry to fill up, it'll look like that living room ,over there, or the way this lawn looked when my father got through showing how much money he had.If you like Mildred Pierce, you'll like it for Cain's style and fluidity of language, but not for the dispiriting tale.
PS - I've embarked upon The Orchard Keeper (McCarthy FTW). It began beautifully. It takes McCarthy the maestro to turn a southern murder story so breathtakingly stunning. This was his debut novel, and what I can say is that his writing has become much more 'understandable' since then...