Here is a single volume of three books: Young Lonigan, The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan, and Judgment Day. The books concern bullying, pernicious prejudice, & the Irish-Catholic experience in early 20th-century Chicago. And at once, paradoxically, they're tales of a young man's durable immaturity in the face of his chronological coming of age. Bad combo. Be forewarned, too, that the "Studs Lonigan" trilogy is yet an additional installment anointed by the Modern Library that istrue to formbrutish in its portrayal & treatment of women. (What else is new?) Additionally, because part of the time period covered is the Great Depression, much of the reading you'll do is largely a chronicle of indolence. Think you'd be bored if you had nothing to do? Imagine how it feels to read about a person who has nothing to do.
It's a long read. James T. Farrell creates an exhaustively objective world around his protagonist. The trilogy is a hefty book due in no small part to the fact that you are expected to read things like an entire graduation speech word-for-word, the play-by-play of an entire football game, a scene-for-scene paraphrase of entire movies...and their newsreels! Curiously though, the narrative gets gappy here & there...noticeably so amidst all the overwriting. Critics attribute this to the fact that much of "Studs Lonigan" is autobiographical & that Farrellalthough himself embodied by a few different charactersrelied on memory to write the three books and not enough on creative imagination.
Three things I learned from "Studs Lonigan":
Finally, I wish I could place a moratorium on a book's ending being spoiled in its blurb! Unbelievable. All I did is read the back cover of my vintage paperback upon receiving it in the mail, & suddenly I found out something that would otherwise only have been revealed after 819 pages of reading. Bummer. Spoiler. Boo. And while you can probably tell from this review that I don't believe the "Studs Lonigan" books to be must reads, I'm feeling charitable, so I won't respoil the ending here for you.