Book Review: Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller #HSReadingRedo


2.5 disco balls

First published: February 10, 1949 by Viking Press
Category: Classics, Play, Theatre
Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1949), New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play (1949)

Death of a Salesman was Book 5 on my September Reading Challenge High School Reading Redo list; I can say I’ve done my homework but that’s about all. Reading it certainly felt like homework. 

It was not enjoyable and I was often frustrated. One: the format. Its a play and setting the scene often confused me. It would flip flop between past and present without a prompt, as if I was supposed to know what was going on without pausing and rereading the lines over again. Second: Willy was annoying, Biff was annoying, Hap was annoying, Linda was annoying. Everyone was annoying.

Goodreads Synopsis: 3.5 average rating
Willy Loman, the protagonist of “Death of a Salesman,” has spent his life following the American way, living out his belief in salesmanship as a way to reinvent himself. But somehow the riches and respect he covets have eluded him. At age 63, he searches for the moment his life took a wrong turn, the moment of betrayal that undermined his relationship with his wife and destroyed his relationship with Biff, the son in whom he invested his faith. Willy lives in a fragile world of elaborate excuses and daydreams, conflating past and present in a desperate attempt to make sense of himself and of a world that once promised so much.

It is a very quick read and only took a few hours. I felt accomplished checking off another book from my reading list (at least it gave me that). Not sure why it was required reading in school. I guess to spark discussion on the American Dream and such, and I get that but the adult me just felt like they whined too much. The dialogue also went off on too many tangents: no one listened to each other, they just liked to hear themselves talk. And, I didn’t like to listen to them either.

They adapted the play into a movie with Dustin Hoffman and John Malkovich in 1985. If I’d had known I would have watched it in high school and not been the least bit sorry about skipping my homework this time around. (Don’t tell my teacher!)

What I imagine Marilyn telling Arthur:

It’s okay, Arthur. You can’t win them all.

His response: Do you have a Pulitzer, Nikki?

Touché Arthur.

Any who – Have you read this one? Seen the play? Seen the movie? Tell me your thoughts!



Purchase Links
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

Stream the Amazon US movie
Stream the Amazon UK movie

You may also find me here:
twitter-icon app-icon2  2787175_orig circle-64 facebook-icon-preview-1

Please note: this post contains Amazon and B&N affiliate links. If you purchase this book through the links above I will earn a small fee; at no additional cost to you. This will help me purchase more books to read and recommend to you all!

25 thoughts on “Book Review: Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller #HSReadingRedo

  1. Oh, I remember quite well reading this and The Crucible in high school back to back as a means to enlighten us to great talent. I was not thrilled. Neither one was good then…and neither one is good now. Sorry for the disappointment. You’ll have a better read next.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. At least your review of it was very entertaining! 😀
    This reminds me of a book I had to read in school but actually dnf’ed because it was so full of whining and the scenes all didn’t make sense to me. I can’t remember ever having struggled like that with a book.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s