Becky's Reviews > Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
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Jan 13, 12

bookshelves: classics, 2012, audiobook, reviewed, tear-jerkers, highly-recommended
Read on January 12, 2012

"Guy don't need no sense to be a nice fella. Seems to me sometimes it jus' works the other way around. Take a real smart guy and he ain't hardly ever a nice fella." - Of Mice And Men

I really think I love John Steinbeck, which is surprising to me, because I never would have thought of myself as a Steinbeck reader. There's just something about the way he writes that cuts through all the bullshit and pretense and just tells it like it is, and I find that really refreshing. Sometimes they aren't easy, and sometimes they hurt, but it's the kind of hurt that, hopefully, makes us want to be better. At least it makes me feel that way.

I know it'll be hard for those of you reading this to believe, but I can sometimes be a bit of a bitch. I can be demanding, irrational, impatient and moody, and sometimes my annoyance and irritation is taken out on unsuspecting innocents, or at least people who don't really deserve the hell I serve up on a platter. So, this book resonated with me. George resonated with me, and I felt myself willing him to be patient, to just try to understand Lennie's perspective, all while my face is flushing red from the knowledge that I don't always practice what I was preaching. I'm a damn hypocrite.

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I really felt this book, as seems to be the case with the Steinbeck books I've read lately. I could identify with all of the characters in some way, and I love that. In such a short book, it's easy to get the characters very wrong... either they are caricatures, or they are cliches or they just plain stink and are boring. I really felt like I understood these characters, even if I didn't like them. At the end of the book, when Lennie asks George to yell at him, isn't he going to hit him, isn't he going to tell him he'd be better off without him, I found that just heartbreaking... that Lennie's sense of normalcy stems from George's frustration with him. I felt for George too. He only wants to take care of Lennie, but sometimes it's so hard. He can't be everywhere at once, and has had to make so many sacrifices in order to keep Lennie out of the kind of trouble that just comes from not knowing any better.

This story is just a smidge over 100 pages long, so it won't take you long to read at all, and I highly recommend it. Or you could take about 3 1/2 hours and let Gary Sinise read it to you, which is what I did. I wasn't sure about Gary at first, but he grew on me really quickly. I've never seen the movie, so I didn't know that he'd starred in the remake. Gary Sinise has a very recognizable voice, at least I think so, and it's kinda the opposite of my "preferred reader", but I thought he did a wonderful job reading this. The voices and the characters were all just right, and I'm not normally a "voice" fan when it comes to audio... I want the story to speak for itself.

This one definitely did that. This is the kind of story that will stick with me for a long time. As I was listening, I kept writing notes about thoughts that struck me, feelings that I had, concepts and themes in the book, and all sorts of interesting stuff that I don't really know how to express without spoiling this wonderful little story.

"The best laid schemes of mice and men oft' go astray." -- Robert Burns
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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Trudi Wonderful Becky.


Trudi Oh! and ... you know ... sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hold on to :)


Becky Thanks! :)


message 4: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim Trudi wrote: "Oh! and ... you know ... sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hold on to :)"

Is that a quote from a book or movie? My wife said almost the exact same thing the other day. Or is it just such a truism that you all are born knowing it? An inborn knowledge or instinct...
;-)


Trudi It's a Stephen King quote from his novel Dolores Claiborne ... since Becky is such a King devotee I thought it the only response to her confession that she "can sometimes be a bit of a bitch" :) :)


message 6: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim Ah! Thanks, Trudi.


Becky Trudi wrote: "It's a Stephen King quote from his novel Dolores Claiborne ... since Becky is such a King devotee I thought it the only response to her confession that she "can sometimes be a bit of ..."

I knew that sounded familiar! I haven't read Dolores Claiborne in years... Re-read city, 2013! :D


Anshul Bhatt Hi Becky. I finished this book last Sunday. Ever since those few sentences (that you quoted) have reverberated in my heart and mind. I thought I will come in today and write a review just for those few lines. Seems to me I dont need to. I am glad there's someone else (and definitely many more) who likes it just as much. Cheers!


Erin (Paperback stash) *is juggle-reading* Great review. I agree with pretty much everything you said and can't wait to check out more Steinbeck either


Andrew Smith As a big Stephen King fan, what is your sense of his references to this book in The Green Mile?


Becky Andrew wrote: "As a big Stephen King fan, what is your sense of his references to this book in The Green Mile?"

Hmm, you know, I never thought about that. I read The Green Mile before reading Of Mice and Men, so maybe I should re-read The Green Mile, huh? (I love the book, so it's no chore, that's for sure!) I can definitely see connections and influences though. I'll give them both a re-read one of these days and I'd be happy to discuss with you if you're still interested. :)


message 12: by T (last edited Mar 10, 2015 04:36PM) (new)

T Moore Becky: Good review there

While not his best. It ain't a dead puppy or mouse either.

And much better than the classic short read Yuppie lopve child, "The Great Gatsby", IMO.

I just listened to this on tape (great medium for it - a one evening listen); had read it 50 years ago and have seen the wonderful film (great Copeland score too) many times. It has always been a great story.

A powerful short tale, it is. And it's about real working people living their lives too - not about rich or middle class people with problems (a tiresome topic in American lit. IMO).

Steinbeck was always at his best when he wrote of the salt of earth common people and nature.


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