Reading Babbitt was a wake-up call for me to start making some changes. I first heard of Babbitt in an interview with Joseph Campbell; he was recounting the end of the novel. The protagonist’s 17 year-old son returns home and announces that he has eloped and dropped out of college to become a mechanic. Babbitt’s wife tells Babbitt, a bored, middle aged, real estate salesman whose own attempt at rebellion quickly failed, to go talk some sense into the boy. Alone with his son, Babbitt thinks briefly then declares, “I never done a thing I wanted to in my life,” wishes him well and together they march to face the rest of the family.
From Books That Inspire 2009.