George's Mother is a moving story about a mother, the little old woman, and her son, George. They are in the same tenement as the Johnsons of Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, but have a much dearer relationship. George's Mother is at the center of it all as a warm loving mother, worried about her son. When George hears his mother is sick, he comes home immediately despite looking uncool to his rowdy friends, and soothes his mother. He shows his deep caring for her which moves her as well. Critics have spoken about George's being a drunk, an alcoholic, and the like. But that is not core to the story because George keeps his job for a long time; when he loses it, much of that is because he has been led into thinking work is not cool, to use the modern term. He drinks, he carouses, but unlike the characters in Maggie A Girl of the Streets, George stays home quietly many nights with his mother and reads the paper. This is not a story to be subjected to buttonholing "isms." Crane has created a live world of round characters to quote EM Forster. George sees Maggie and has a magical set of moments dreaming of her as the perfect woman, but nothing happens except George sees another man take her out. And that was that. As with many such moments in Crane, a moment was missed. If Maggie and George had gotten together, they probably would have survived quite nicely and had a better outcome with Maggie living and George having company, as well as his mother having a woman she could relate to coming from the same tenement.
This novel is much talked about but little read. You should listen to it. The novel, as with may Crane short stories, may come off better in the listening than in the reading. Another Crane triumph. As with all Simply audio books, we provide an commentary in an afterword for those interested.