Before visiting Monterey, I would have given this book four stars for the high quality of writing, character development and the creative story line. After taking the 20 minute tour of the Monterey Historical Wax Museum with Pam Martin (Dan and Roger skipped this attraction; I wonder why?,) I realized that Cannery Row simply records the real live characters and places of this community. Steinbeck's writing is excellent - "He looked upon himself as a crystal pool of clarity and on his life as a troubled glass of minunderstood virtue." - You can't get any better than that! But the story line wasn't very engaging; I woudn't have finished the book if Pam hadn't been reading it and if we weren't about to visit Monterey together with our husbands. It was a fairly short book, but I don't know if I would choose it as Steinbeck's best writing.