by Truman Capote
This novel, really a novella, published post-humously by Truman Capote's estate was captivating and compelling. Not exactly uplifting, but a real, genuine I-can't-put-this-down story. It's a good thing it was so short (there's debate as to whether it is complete) or I'd have failed to complete the things I needed to complete while I was reading it.
Should ever an American claim that class doesn't exist in their culture, hand him/her a copy of this book. But not your only copy. It's totally re-readable, even if the end leaves you feeling incomplete.