Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck
Summary: The compelling story of two outsiders striving to find their place in an unforgiving world. Drifters in search of work, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other and a dream--a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley, but their hopes are doomed as Lennie, struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy, becomes a victim of his own strength. Tackling universal themes such as the friendship of a shared vision, and giving voice to America’s lonely and dispossessed, Of Mice and Men has proved one of Steinbeck’s most popular works, achieving success as a novel, a Broadway play and three acclaimed films.
Source: I purchased a paperback
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Of Mice and Men was fantastic. I can’t believe I never read it, but I was in the English classes that read other books in high school. I always thought it would be like a short, awful version of The Grapes of Wrath, which I thought was hard to get through. But I think maybe The Grapes of Wrath was too long and the author’s strength was in the smaller, more compact stories because it was much better than I anticipated.
I really enjoyed the book. George and Lennie were both likable characters. Lennie didn’t know any better and I admired George for being so loyal and not wanting to abandon him. Lennie was.. different. He was like that guy in The Stand who thought everything was spelled M-O-O-N. He caused problems because he didn’t understand the world, but he was so hopeful that something could change. Lennie’s naïve hopefulness was contrasted by the bleak circumstances of their lives and the lives of many other people like them during that time period.
I expected the awful slow “English class” kind of book, especially having only read The Grapes of Wrath, which was long and drawn out and kind of awkward (It ends with the weirdest scene ever in classic fiction?). I did not expect to be completely engrossed and unable to put the book down. I didn’t expect to shed any tears, either, but I did. I don’t know if I should be upset I never got to read it in school or glad that I got to experience it without it being ripped to shreds by analyzing every word.
This is a great book and I highly recommend it. It is terribly depressing and sad. I’m still reeling from that ending. It’s one of those “but why?!” moments except you really know it couldn’t have been any other way or it would have been even worse. It’s just so tragic. *cries*
Labels: classic, fiction, Review