**spoiler alert** Once again, I've fallen into the line of classics, what right do I have to criticize?? But I press on, given that this book was a he**spoiler alert** Once again, I've fallen into the line of classics, what right do I have to criticize?? But I press on, given that this book was a hell of a lot longer than Of Mice and Men, so I should probably say something.
So I just returned from a two week long road trip. We went from Seattle to Lexington, KY to Smithville TN, to Elmhurst, IL and back to Seattle. Via Yellowstone, Nebraska, and Mt Rushmore of course. Anyway ... in preparation for the trip, I took FOUR books. I only got through one, and I didn't even finish it. Obviously, the lone book was The Grapes of Wrath. I've always wanted to read this book not for the story, but so I could bring it up in conversation. It's a lot more impressive to tell people you just finished The Grapes of Wrath than it is to say you've just finished the latest Oprah's Book Club selection. So, admittedly it was purely for selfish reasons that I picked up this book. I knew it was about a family named the Joads crossing the country from Oklahoma to California, and I knew that my mom always complained that the mom was too heavy set in the movie starring Henry Fonda. That's about all I knew. Oh, and that my dad loved it when he read it five years ago.
I must admit I was disappointed ...
** It reminded me of the first 150 pages of Moby Dick and only because that's all I've gotten through of Moby Dick. One chapter about the story, followed by one chapter about the life style and the culture. I think I remember Steinbeck admiring Melville from 11th grade American Literature, and I was kind of happy it was so blatantly obvious. - Plus 3
** Still, why can't you make your own mark. - Minus 3
** Rose of Sharon ... seriously ... who would ever name their kid that?? And people think Pilot Inspektor and Audio Science are weird names. - Minus 2
** Not only was her name annoying, but she was annoying too. Get over Connie, he left you and your family and it was because you were so blasted annoying. - Minus 3
** I really really liked Casey. I liked that he questioned his faith, and found a new path. I liked that they all kept insisting he was still a preacher despite his insistence to the contrary. I really liked that he was just on the edge of communist, but really just for the people. - Plus 4
** I liked the Mom too. Nice to see a feminist in early 20th century literature. And on a side note, she's totally heavy set in the book, so that shut my mom up ;) - Plus 3
** Long chapter followed by ridiculously short chapter. Spread it out. - Minus 2
** It was a little wordy. I guess it's a classic for a reason and I'm sure part of it is a prose thing, but I kept losing my spot and found myself re-reading the same paragraph repeatedly. - Minus 3
** The grandparents were fun. I enjoyed their bickering with each other and the family and their personalities. Pity they died so early on in the story. - Plus 3
** While we're on the death thing ... why did so many characters have to die?? It kind of makes me happy that I didn't finish the last 100 pages of East of Eden because everyone probably died. That is if it's anything like The Grapes of Wrath or Of Mice and Men. - Minus 4
** Depressed much?? - Minus 2
** It was depressing. REALLY REALLY DEPRESSING. But I guess that's why they called it The Great Depression. - Plus 3
** Okay ... here's what I don't get - There's a chapter all about the food spoiling and the Californians pouring toxins over it because they didn't like the Okies. But there's also a large section of the novel when the Joads are near water and no mention of whether or not provisions were made to keep them from fishing. They're starving and living on fried dough ... do none of them know how to fish?? Give a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach him how to fish, he eats for a lifetime. - Minus 3
** Uncle John ... a little too obsessed with sin. Did he do anything besides ignore his dying wife?? Considering he had no way of knowing that she was dying and not merely queasy, he shouldn't be so guilt ridden. I was hoping maybe he molested a child or something, cause his sin was pretty boring if you ask me. - Minus 2
** No definitive spoiler ... but seriously, a great American classic ending the way it did is kind of disturbing, and it's probably years of reading Dan Savage's column that's making me think about it in such a way. - Minus 3
Final Tally ... Minus 11
I'd love to end this with a positive ... really I would ... but it wouldn't be true to the story. It was really one of the most depressing books I've ever read in my entire life ... so if you're suicidal, stay FAR AWAY from this novel ... and read the Oprah's Book Club book....more
I've been meaning to read this for years, ever since a drunk guy at a Halloween party told me that the Norton version was phenomenal. I didn't think iI've been meaning to read this for years, ever since a drunk guy at a Halloween party told me that the Norton version was phenomenal. I didn't think it was so wonderful. Not bad, but just watching the Disney version would have been enough. All but a couple pages are in the movie....more