Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

Summary: They are an unlikely pair: George is "Small and quick and dark of face"; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has a mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a "family", clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.

Laborers in California's dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie's unswerving obedience to the thing George taught him.
Summary from back of book, cover photo from bookrags.com

My Review: George and Lenny make a good team. George stands up for Lenny, keeping him out of trouble whenever possible and Lenny works very hard, looking to George with the deepest admiration. It's a difficult life these men lead, traveling from farm to farm to work the land, having to run from the consequences of Lenny's careless mistakes. Lenny has the mind of a child, and this, in combination with his love for soft things, proves to be very troublesome. It's the dream of owning their own place that keeps these two going. The dream seems to be coming closer to reality. They only have to make it a month, but trouble seems to find this pair wherever they go. And when trouble results in a death and angry men start hunting for Lenny, George is forced to make a difficult decision, proving the power of his friendship.

I understand why so many love this book. This was a well-written book. The scenery is vivid, the characters are realistic and there is a heavy emotional pull. It's a story that will leave the reader breathless at times as the pages fly by. I can see the lessons of friendship, acceptance and loyalty threaded within the story. I just don't want to read about these lessons in this form. By the time I closed the cover on this book I felt sick. What I had expected to be a beautiful story of friendship ended up being one of the most depressing books I have read in a long time.

My Rating: 2 Stars; Memorable-Yes, Likable-Not so much

If I had to sum it up in one sentence: A classic for many valid reasons, just not one I'd like to read again.


Gerbera Daisy Diaries said...

It's Steinbeck...he is not known for warm fuzzy. It's a far better stage play, I think.


I have one book of his that I REALLY love...the rest I think make better movies. If you have not read it, read THE MOON IS DOWN. It is about a little village in Norway...the characters are so real...you see not only the villagers but the German soldiers. It is really worth the read.

Heather said...

Sounds good. I'll give it a try. Thanks.


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