An American Tragedy is a 1925
novel by Theodore Dreiser
. Loosely based on an actual criminal case, it tells the story of a young man named Clyde Griffiths, from his teenage years working as a bellboy
in a hotel to... well, let's just say it ends in tragedy
I can't say that I heartily recommend the novel; it's pretty long, and Dreiser's writing is more like a brick than a brush-stroke. On the other hand, I made it through the entire thing intact, and I suppose I appreciate some of the things Dreiser did with it, so I would think that if you like early twentieth-century novels, this is one of them.
An American Tragedy was made into a movie called A Place in the Sun, starring a very young Elizabeth Taylor as Sondra Finchley.