Monday, February 14, 2011

Of Mice and Men; John Steinbeck


Title: Of Mice and Men
Author: John Steinbeck 
Publication Year: 1937 / 2002 (this edition)
Publisher: Penguin
Edition: softcover
Source: my shelves
Date Completed: 2/13/2011
Setting: Soledad, CA area
Rating: 5/5 stars
Recommend: Yes 
 
I have not read this book since high school (a long time ago), so I actually had forgotten how much I loved this book, probably more this time as it was read for pleasure.

Briefly, Of Mice and Men, tells the story of two drifters, Lennie, a mentally challenged, gentle giant, and George, the man who looks after Lennie.  They are just two of the many itinerant labors who search for jobs in the fields of California during the Depression. George and Lennie hope that at some point, they will achieve the American Dream of owning a small piece of land and having a few rabbits as well, because Lennie loves small little critters and having something soft to pet.
'We're gonna have a little place,"  Lennie explained  patiently. "We're gonna have a house an' a garden and a place for alfalfa, an' that alfalfa is for the rabbits, an' I take a sack of it fulla alfalfa and then I take it to the rabbits."...................."I like to pet nice things with my fingers, sof' things."
Lennie is extremely loyal to George, and although he has caused some problems as the two travel from place to place trying to find work, the one constant is that they have each other. 
"I ain't got no people...'Course Lennie's a God damn nuisance most of the time, but you get used to goin' around with a guy an' you can't get rid of him."
George is often angry about some of the things that Lennie does, and feels burdened, believing that Lennie is holding him back in life.  Lennie, in turn worries that George may leave him some day. In addition to george and Lennie, there are some minor characters in this story: Crooks, Slim, Curley and Carlson, and themes of loneliness surface again through these men. Throughout this story there is a lot of foreshadowing which occurs, preparing the reader for a some of the bad things that are about to take place. There are several issues explored in this novel: the mentally challenged individual, poverty and racism, and although the characters here are different, their issues are often the same, leading each to experience many of the same disappointments in life.

For those of you who have never read this amazing story (under 130 pages),  Of Mice and Men, packs a  mighty punch for such a small book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

This is about the fourth Steinbeck novel I have read in the last few years, and honestly, I am always amazed at how much I love his work.  My next Steinbeck novel will be East of Eden, a somewhat hefty tome, but I am sure it will be well worth my time.  Have you read any Steinbeck books that you really loved?

38 comments:

  1. I liked Of Mice and Men, but East of Eden is one of my favorites. Hope you enjoy that one, too, when you get to it! =)

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  2. Somehow, I've never read this book that I can remember. I'll have to remedy that.

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  3. I have East of Eden in my TBR pile for years now. I guess the size of the book intimidates me. Will be waiting for your review =)

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  4. I read Of Mice and Men in high school, so my memory of it is quite fuzzy. But I read and loved East of Eden last year. In fact, I was surprised by how much I loved it.

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  5. I haven't read any Steinbeck books yet. :( My cousin used to pester me to read one. I have to read one sometime soon!

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  6. I think Of Mice and Men, East of Eden, and Grapes of Wrath are all excellent!

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  7. Oh my god I love this book. I read it in high school and it was one of the few that I really remember enjoying so I finally reread it last year and was not disappointed the second time through. I think I am going to read it every few years.

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  8. Oh - a person who likes rabbits is a person after my own heart (I have two - I think they are adorable!) so I like this Lennie and now I have to read this book!

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  9. I am going to my eye out for this book. I rather like the sound of it and being an older book will be available somewhere here.

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  10. This is on my American classics list but because I already know the story Ive been putting it off. Its only a small book so I really should just read it.

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  11. I feel like you about Steinbeck. I've read several of his novels over the last couple of years and haven't found one I didn't love. Of Mice and Men was a wonderful little book if sad.

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  12. I loved this book at school. I loved Lennie and wanted to take him home to look after him.

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  13. I read Of Mice and Men a couple of years ago (the first time since high school) and had the same experience - loved it! Also reread The Red Pony around that time and can recommend it. East of Eden is an all-time favorites. Up next for reread - either The Winter of our Discontent or The Grapes of Wrath. Gotta love Steinbeck!!

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  14. I'd like to revisit Steinbeck. I remember liking him years ago but haven't picked him up lately. Hmm, you've piqued my interest . . .

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  15. I love anything by John Steinbeck!. Remember The Red Pony? that was a book that all students read in school... Hemingway is another writer I enjoy.

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  16. East of Eden is actually the only Steinbeck that I have ever read, and I have to say that if you are reading that one soon, you are in for a treat. It was such an excellent story, with such a convincing antagonist. I want to read Of Mice and Men also after reading your wonderful review!

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  17. I loved OF MICE AND MEN. So much emotion in such a little book.

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  18. Yes! I haven't read this one, but I do so enjoy his writing. I've read Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden and was mesmerized. I think you either like him or you don't.

    (Kim Bee here -- I'm following you under a new blog now. A one-stop blog--with 7 writers there should be more books, too. Hope you will keep in touch :)

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  19. Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors of all time. Ironically this is my favorite book. So glad it's still making its way into peoples lives and hearts.
    Great review!

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  20. One of my all time favourites even if I always end up sobbing my heart out.

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  21. Steinbeck is one of those classic American writers. His books are not just good stories, but well-told stories. His writing skill enhances the stories of life in this country. Love love love.

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  22. I loved East of Eden. I don't think I knew Of Mice and Men was so short. That makes it less daunting!

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  23. I love Steinbeck. It's been a while since I've read anythign of his, but I sure do love this book!

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  24. I love this book. I just reread it along with my son, who read it for school and remembered just how much I adored it. The best part is my son loved it too.

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  25. I think Of Mice and Men is my favorite though I loved Grapes of Wrath. His works are definitely worth reading again!!

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  26. I'm so impressed! Great review, you inspire me to give it a try.

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  27. I'm going to go against the grain here. I'm not a fan of Steinbeck. My husband knows that when I compare something to Steinbeck's books I usually mean something that may be written well but will tear your heart out. I've never gotten over reading Of Mice and Men in high school - it was just so sad.

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  28. I'd like to read this one. I like Grapes of Wrath. And I read Travels with Charley while traveling in northern California, so that one has a special meaning for me.

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  29. I always include Of Mice and Men among my favorite books, but it has been many years since I read it. Due for a reread soon.

    I regularly reread Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday--I just love the characterization in those books so much.

    I prefer East of Eden over Grapes, but I haven't read either in a long, long time.

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  30. It's been many, many years since I read Steinbeck. I think I liked this one and I know I didn't like Grapes of Wrath. Of course, that was high school so who knows what I would think of either one now. I guess I'll have to add him to my long list of re-read candidates!

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  31. I've always wanted to read this book, and pulled it off my shelf at the start of the year to read at some point in the coming months. The only Steinbeck I read was The Pastures of Heaven for an American Lit course in college and I remember really enjoying it. I might have to revisit that one.

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  32. Great review. I read this a few years back and really enjoyed it. I loved East of Eden. It's one of my all time favorites.

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  33. It's funny because I reviewed this novel recently and I think that 'Of Mice of Men' is a brilliant novel. I found it hard to get into and I wasn't sure that I was going to enjoy it. However, it's worth persisting with. Great Review!

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  34. So glad you enjoyed your revisit!! Somehow I made it through high school and two lit degrees without having to read Steinbeck. I have read Travels with Charley, though, and really enjoyed it. Look forward to someday reading some of his fiction!

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  35. I've read ALL of Steinbeck from his little known works to his widely popular ones. I think East of Eden is my favorite. I love Of Mice and Men but hate the ending!

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  36. I need to read this. I have it in my personal library.

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  37. I read this a long time ago and loved it. It's short enough for a quick reread. I'm glad it held up for you on a second reading.

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