Friday, February 22, 2013

Book review: Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

The tragic story of the complex bond between two migrant laborers in Central California. They are George Milton and Lennie Small, itinerant ranch hands who dream of one day owning a small farm. George acts as a father figure to Lennie, who is a very large, simple-minded man, calming him and helping to rein in his immense physical strength.

I never read this book in high school, which seems to be uncommon. But it was one of Pat's favorites from high school, so I decided to check it out. 

Pat says it was his favorite because he liked the characters -- and I agree, they are really likeable. I think listening to the audio made Lennie even more endearing. The relationship between the two is never quite clear -- we know that George knew Lennie's aunt. For a long time I was sure we'd find out they were related, but we never seem to.

I didn't read the description of the book until I was over halfway through with it. By that time, the growing sense of dread I had while reading had already informed me that this would be a tragic story. And thank goodness it's a short book because I was going crazy thinking about what might happen.

Steinbeck writes in a simple way -- in fact, this book was written particularly so that it could be turned into a play with no major changes, and you can tell. But I liked the style.

One thing I didn't particularly enjoy was the portrayal of women. I've heard that Steinbeck is not generally kind to women in his books, and you can tell. Curly's wife is never given a name -- she is always "Curly's wife." She's seen as a tramp and as causing trouble. And also there's the old-school perspective that women having any interest in men makes them dirty. The only other female characters, briefly mentioned, are Lennie's nagging aunt and prostitutes.

I ended up giving it four stars, mostly because I couldn't stop reading and couldn't stop thinking about it.

Have any of you read Of Mice and Men? What did you think? Please be careful of spoilers in the comments!


Dara said...

this was one of the only books I read in high school that I liked, owned, and read again!

Kate said...

John Steinbeck is, hands down, my favorite author. Most people always started with Of Mice and Men or Grapes of Wrath.

But I remember very vividly the summer before my senior year of high school. I went to the beach with my parents and didn't want to bring a ton of books like I usually did. So I brought East of Eden because it was fairly long and one or two others. I think I finished it in two days because I was so in love. Once school started, I remember having so many conversations with my psychology teacher about why we both loved Steinbeck.

You mentioned how simple his writing is, and that's part of what I love the most. I feel like... he doesn't NEED to write anything complex to get across the stories he has to tell. They just feel more real to me because of that. I have almost read everything he ever wrote. I still have a few of the less known to left to read. And I WILL say that the vast majority of them have some kind of sad ending. But the stories are just so amazing.

And there's my novel of a comment.

Amy said...

I never read this one in High School (i remember it was on the list, i dont remember why i didn't read it). Definitely looks like something that would be intriguing to read!

Kaylee Snyder said...

I loved Of Mice and Men in high school. Even now, when someone mentions that they have a lifelong dream, I always think of Lenny feeding the rabbits.

Shoshanah said...

I did read this one in high school. And while I remember liking it, I don't remember a lot else about it. I definitely think this is one, that I'd love to reread eventually.

Sarah E. said...

Like Shoshanah, I read it in high school, liked it, but don't remember anything about it.

Katie said...

Seriously, I loved this book after I read it in high school. I should break it out again.

(...I'm obviously catching up on all of my blog reading.) :)

Adam said...

I just read Of Mice and Men. I liked it, especially the description of the dusty American countryside full of Barley Buckers under a beating sun. It's telling too, how meagre the main characters dreams are - stuck in the middle of the Great Depression - just to own some land and work on it themselves!

Thanks for writing this review, I really enjoyed it.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...