Lindsay's Reviews > Sweet Thursday

Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck
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Jun 26, 09

bookshelves: steinbeckitude, fiction
Read in June, 2009

I've been waiting for the time to come that I don't flip over a Steinbeck novel. This wasn't his most creative, but damn if I don't fall in love every time. I've been trying to think of a word to describe Sweet Thursday, but all I can think of is, well, sweet. What struck me while reading this novel was why I think I love Steinbeck as much as I do. I've got a lot of favorite authors that are superb at what they do, that make me feel to my marrow, and I know they put their heart and soul into their work, but it's reading Steinbeck that I feel how much he intensely loves his characters. I can only imagine him burning late into the night, hovering over his typewriter, fighting off sleep and calls to come out or to come to bed just so he may stay with his people just a little bit longer...see what they're going to do next, what goofy and wondrous line they'll kick out. And it reminds me a little of teaching--if you've got enthusiasm for the subject, the kids are going to like it a lot more. Steinbeck's passion bleeds through for me to absorb.

This was also a therapeutic follow up from The Road although an entirely bizarre one...I'm surprised I'm not as jarred as I feel I should be. This was the most romantic I've seen Steinbeck...something of a golden, fish-stink California version of an Austen novel. How's that for a change? I think I put a Hank Williams song back-to-back with Frank Zappa on a mix tape for a friend years ago for sheer glee, and it felt a little like that.

This and Cannery Row provide perhaps the biggest blow to me that I won't be able to drive up 1 from LA to SF in a couple weeks. Although Meghan assures me there are few, if no remnants to be found in Monterey of such a time, I ache to just be in this place for at least a moment. It's akin to the joy I found finding the ducks had thankfully returned once again to Central Park and visiting the Natural History Museum in NYC for the first time, hoping I'd find a vision of Holden Caulfield stumbling around as well. And, as with Cannery Row, I'm still in love with Doc, but I'm sure he's moved up the coast. This book reminded me that I can be a soppy old romantic. Curses!! What can I read next?

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Where does discontent start? You are warm enough, but you shiver. You are fed, yet hunger gnaws you. You have been loved, but your yearning wanders in new fields. And to prod all these there's time, the bastard Time. The end of life is now not so terribly far away--you can see it the way you see the finish line when you come into the stretch--and your mind says, "Have I worked enough? Have I eaten enough? Have I loved enough?" All of these, of course, are the foundation of man's greatest curse, and perhaps his greatest glory. "What has my life meant so far, and what can it mean in the time left to me?" And now we're coming to the wicked, poisoned dart: "What have I contributed to the Great Ledger? What am I worth?" And this isn't vanity or ambition. Men seem to be born with a debt they can never pay no matter how hard they try. It piles up ahead of them. Man owes something to man. If he ignores the debt it poisons him, and if he tries to make payments the debt only increases, and the quality of his gift is the measure of the man. (16)
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Kate (new)

Kate Wow, I didn't know Steinbeck knew Heath Ledger! :)

Great review, Linds! I'm gonna have to read this one. I love Steinbeck's simplicity. The older I get, the less I'm interested in complicated things. Amen.


Lindsay Amen, sister. You may borrow this anytime you want.


message 3: by Muhammad (new)

Muhammad Ilyas i loved cannery row. i thought i would never find another book with same characters like mack, doc and hazel. but your review made me changed my mind, and i will definetly buy this book now.


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