Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~'s Reviews > East of Eden

East of Eden by John Steinbeck
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 5-star, audiobook, favorites, year-2017

Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

Alright friends, here's the dealio.

When I read this book, lots of things in my personal life were a hectic. When I finished this book, things were still hectic. I'm writing this now, and things are still a little hectic, but slowly they are leveling out (so no worries.)

The thing is, because of all that hectic, I did not document my thoughts about this book the way I normally would do. I also made the fatal mistake of waiting far too long to sit down & write my review upon finishing.

Usually, if I wait too long the reviewer in me just quietly slips an I.O.U. note into the brain inbox & then goes back into hibernation until the next book is completed. She's a finicky sort.

My point is, this review will very likely will not do the book justice. If you're looking for a review that does do the book justice, I'd consider going to read my darling Celeste's review because she's basically the wordsmith we all aspire to be. But if you'd still like to read my late to the game drivel, you're absolutely welcome here!

So, anyway, about the book. It's super freakin' great.

I literally love generational tales. The way we get to experience & live through the evolution of the Trasks & the Hamiltons is a thing of pure beauty even when the going gets rough.

Every time I put the book down, I was excited for the next chance I'd get to pick it up. It was just that engaging.

One of the more standout elements of this novel is it's inclusion of two very unique minority characters - a Chinese man named Lee, and a woman named Cathy. These two are almost a complete antithesis to one another & they are both so incredibly central to every major plot point in the story, even as it spans across many years.

While both definitely became favorites of mine in their own respect, Cathy is an especially wonderful character & probably one of the most terrifying/intriguing I've ever come across in any novel. It was terribly fun to watch these characters swirl & rage around our main cast in their storms of light & darkness.

Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed is its observance of nature vs. nurture & how the sins of the parent can be passed down to create a stain on the soul of the child. It's simultaneously a lovely reminder that we have a choice in how we react to the brokenness we may inherit.

Finally, all the Biblical parallels here were just so much fun to point out especially since I read this book with a wonderful group. The strongest recurring theme has to be the dynamic between Adam's sons, Cain & Abel. It seems as though this novel seeks to explore the "what ifs" of every possible combination there.

As far as classics are concerned, I spent a lot of time reading them in high school & I accidentally conditioned myself into thinking that all classics are super deep & super complex & require a formal essay (12 page minimum, single spaced) upon completion.

I subsequently avoided them for a couple years because I had a hard time viewing them as approachable from a casual reader's perspective. Now that I've dipped my toes back into the genre, I'm realizing that classics can fall anywhere on the approachability spectrum.

However, for readers who may be stuck in the same mindset I'm breaking out of let me just tell you this novel is super approachable! I found the writing style easy to absorb & very sincere without losing any of its beauty.

I knocked half a star off because there are a couple places where I feel certain character chapters didn't add much to the overall story, and some lengthy descriptions of the Salinas Valley could've been shortened without sacrificing much in the way of atmosphere.

This is definitely a must-read for anyone in love with reading & one I will revisit in the future!

Read this with TS, Haifa, and Celeste in our mission to conquer some classics! ☺️
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Reading Progress

July 27, 2016 – Shelved
July 27, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
September 5, 2017 – Started Reading
September 6, 2017 –
12.0% "Man this is good so far wowza."
September 12, 2017 –
25.0% "I'm. Loving. This. Book.
*screams*"
September 19, 2017 –
page 200
33.28% "HOLY SHIT 😂😂😂"
September 26, 2017 –
page 300
49.92%
October 4, 2017 –
page 385
64.06% "So I haven't watched the film adaption of this yet, but I heard the movie doesn't start until around this point in the book & I just wanna say that's a fucking tragedy because this book deserves to be told in its entirety."
October 17, 2017 –
page 489
81.36% "Though I'm still enjoying it, the first half of this book was a lot more compelling than the second half. 😔"
October 29, 2017 – Shelved as: favorites
October 29, 2017 – Shelved as: audiobook
October 29, 2017 – Shelved as: 5-star
October 29, 2017 – Shelved as: year-2017
October 29, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-33 of 33 (33 new)

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Matthew Soooooooo good!


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Matthew I'm only 3 chapters in and I'm already really enjoying it!


message 3: by may ❀ (new)

may ❀ happy reading, i hope you girls enjoyyyyy :*


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Omg May thank you sweetssss 😘☺️


message 5: by Kimi (new)

Kimi I love classics :D


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Kimi I sort of burned myself out on classics when I read a ton of them for my high school literature courses & so I'm just learning to get back into them! 🤗


message 7: by Kimi (new)

Kimi Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ wrote: "Kimi I sort of burned myself out on classics when I read a ton of them for my high school literature courses & so I'm just learning to get back into them! 🤗"

I totally get what you mean. After getting an English degree, it's hard to read a classic without analysing the crap out of it, but I still love pick one up from time to time.


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Oh yes that's exactly it! I don't have an English degree but I think most reviewers are analytical by nature and so I always sort of have to talk myself out of reading the book as if I must be prepared to write an essay at any moment 😂


Cassidy Probably my favorite book of all time, considering I have a tattoo inspired by it. Hope you love it!


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Cassidy wrote: "Probably my favorite book of all time, considering I have a tattoo inspired by it. Hope you love it!"

Oh wow Cassidy that's awesome!! Thank you so much so far I'm really interested in it! :)


Sarah This is one of my favorites. It's so good


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Sarah wrote: "This is one of my favorites. It's so good"

Sarah! I'm so glad to hear that! I see it's done quite well among my friends here on GR so I'm incredibly excited to be reading it.


message 13: by R (new) - rated it 5 stars

R K This is one of the best books I've read this year no scratch that, in my life! I hope you enjoy it as well


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Awh that's awesome R!! I'm so glad to hear that. Thank you so far it's starting out on a wonderful foot!


message 15: by R (new) - rated it 5 stars

R K :D


ijeoma Agbaje sold!!!! already have this book on my list just need to find some time..


message 17: by Aneela (new)

Aneela ♒the_mystique_reader♒ Terrific review Mary


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Thank you Sade!! I sure hope you love this!! ☺️


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Thank you so much Aneela! 🤗


message 20: by Liam (new) - added it

Liam Degnan Wonderful review, Mary ^_^. I actually tried reading this book years ago and put it down, because I got distracted by other things. Maybe I'll pick it up again eventually - I'm planning on reading through more classics this upcoming year. I've been on a fantasy kick for like the last two years I feel like haha, so I'm feeling like it's time to branch out more.


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Oh thank you so much Liam! Steinbeck and I have been hit & miss but in my opinion this is a true masterwork, especially once the ball gets rolling. I sure do hope you enjoy it more if you try it out again! I get what you mean about a Fantasy kick though, I'm the same! I've been trying to expand myself but man it's hard with all that Fantasy calling my name, haha!


message 22: by kath (new) - added it

kath | novelandfolk Yes yes yes. This is a top 10 favourite of all time!


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Woohoo!! Kath I totally see why it's so damn good!!


Celeste Wonderful review, my darling!! Sorry I just finally had a chance to read it, but I thought you did it justice!! I enjoyed reading this with you (and our other lovelies) immensely, and can't wait to tackle another next year. And thank you for the shout-out! 😘


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Awh thank you so much Celeste! I'm glad you thought so! I wrote this in a dozing stupor on my phone but it definitely deserves something higher caliber (like your review hehe) to represent it. I enjoyed reading it with you all as well I'm so excited for Les Mis (and terrified haha.)


Celeste I am also excited and terrified about tackling Les Mis. We can do it!! 💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻


message 27: by R (new) - rated it 5 stars

R K yay, I'm glad you enjoyed this book. Did you know that Cathy was J.S's favourite character to write? This book is one of my all time favourites!


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ I sure hope it doesn't kill us!! 😂


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Oh R thank you for that tidbit I didn't know! I really enjoyed how he wrote her tho it felt so genuine & scary omg lol


message 30: by ChopinFC (new) - added it

ChopinFC Heck of a review.. even after writing few days later!


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Haha thank you Rod!! I think it was around 2 months later that I actually sat down and penned this but this book was AMAZING & deserved a review 🤗


message 32: by emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

emma i love this book and i love you


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ EMMA I LOVE YOU TOO sobs 😭💕


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