Michael's Reviews > Cannery Row

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
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's review
Aug 23, 2007

really liked it
Read in August, 2007

I just visited Monterey, CA and walked through Cannery Row and was inspired to read the book. Although it was not quite as I expected (I thought it would be a little more relentlessly grim), I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing is great and it was more humorous than I thought. I did always have an impending sense of dread that no matter what was happening in the book (dramatic action, matter of fact description, humorous anecdote) I always had the sense that some disaster was about to occur. The characters are not that likable, or at least I wouldn’t want to know most of them. Most are in it for themselves and Steinbeck does a good job of showing that while these characters often say they are doing something for someone else or the general good, in fact it’s really a benefit to them. I would definitely recommend this book, which could be read in a short period of time.
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Coalbanks Well that's life, eh? Not all people are likeable, some not in any degree, not all of anyone is entirely likable. Such is the range of humanity, no? Steinbeck lived much of what he wrote about here. Years later after reading Tortilla Flat & Cannery Row in high school I started reading Joseph Campbell"s works on myth etc & in an autobiographical note he disclosed that he had been one of the drifters who collected specimens for Doc, lived in an old car, a shack, whatever & where ever after spending a year living in the Maine woods reading, a la Walden Pond/Thoreau, before settling into 60 years of academia. You never know what might be found under a rock or how well some aimless, shiftless character might turn out.

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