Free Classics: Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Every Friday, Marilyn Knapp Litt, who blogs at, brings us her recommendation of a free classic book to discover (or rediscover) on Kindle. Find more of Marilyn’s recommendations at her blog,, a guide to the best free and inexpensive classic literature for the Kindle. You can also get Marilyn’s blog on Kindle and I recommend that you “Like” the Classic Kindle Facebook page as well so you don’t miss anything. Here’s Marilyn’s post:

Theodore Dreiser’s acclaimed first novel, Sister Carrie is free on Kindle, but beware!

One of the free versions is corrupt, with wrong words and missing text. This is from the first paragraph. The emphasis is mine.

She was eighteen years or age, bright, timid, and full of the illusions of ignorance and youth. Whatever touch of regret at parting characterized her given up.


Between the words, “her” and “given up” should be the phrase: “thoughts, it was certainly not for advantages now being”

Here it is the entire first paragraph should read :

When Caroline Meeber boarded the afternoon train for Chicago, her total outfit consisted of a small trunk, a cheap imitation alligator-skin satchel, a small lunch in a paper box, and a yellow leather snap purse, containing her ticket, a scrap of paper with her sister’s address in Van Buren Street, and four dollars in money. It was in August, 1889. She was eighteen years of age, bright, timid, and full of the illusions of ignorance and youth. Whatever touch of regret at parting characterised her thoughts, it was certainly not for advantages now being given up.

This is not due to a difference between edited editions. It is a careless conversion to the Kindle format. The first free version offered on Amazon is the bad one and I do not link to it here. There is another free version, which appears to be fine and that is the link in this blog.

Here is a tip. When you are looking at a free classic book that has been on Amazon for over a decade, there may be a hundred reviews and most will not be for the Kindle edition. Look for a rating of one star. Sometimes when there is a bad Kindle version, you will find a kindly Amazon reviewer has alerted people with a one star review. That was the case here.

While I am handing out tips, there is no guarantee than an inexpensive version of a classic is also not corrupt. Sometimes these versions are identical to the free version, except for price. Before you pay for a classic, download the free chapter to check it out.

Here is some more of Sister Carrie – with no missing words:

“Carrie Meeber,” she said slowly. “Three hundred and fifty-four West Van Buren Street, care S. C. Hanson.”
He wrote it carefully down and got out the purse again. “You’ll be at home if I come around Monday night?” he said. ”
I think so,” she answered.
How true it is that words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean. Little audible links, they are, chaining together great inaudible feelings and purposes. Here were these two, bandying little phrases, drawing purses, looking at cards, and both unconscious of how inarticulate all their real feelings were. Neither was wise enough to be sure of the working of the mind of the other. He could not tell how his luring succeeded. She could not realise that she was drifting, until he secured her address. Now she felt that she had yielded something—he, that he had gained a victory. Already they felt that they were somehow associated. Already he took control in directing the conversation. His words were easy. Her manner was relaxed.

So why am I, the reader, not feeling relaxed?

Download your free copy of “Sister Carrie” by Theodore Dreiser here >>>

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