Alison's Reviews > Tortilla Flat

Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck
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's review
Dec 01, 2008

liked it

I read an old copy of this book (not old as in antique or valuable, just old as in the pages are falling out and the paper smells funny), which might account for the somewhat odd blurb on the back. I don't have the book with me, so this definitely isn't a quote, but I'll try to capture the tone: some wild and crazy guys have good times on Tortilla Flat! Wine, women, and nonstop fun! You never know what will happen next!

After I finished the book, I read some literary criticism online that said it's a modern re-telling of the Arthurian legend. (Won't pretend I picked up on that myself.)

But instead of fun and whimsy, or greatness and gallantry, I saw a depressing look at poverty and alcoholism. I suppose amusing antics and odd situations befall the growing group of drinking buddies, and their stories are told with a degree of lightheartedness. The good cheer rings false, though, just as the warmth and friendship gained from wine prove to be false. The characters accidentally burn down their house while drunk, concoct repeated plots to steal wine and money, fight with each other and the townspeople, abuse women, and seem only capable of manipulative relationships. A few sing-alongs might make up for a lot of misery, but these are the real, lasting results of alcoholism.
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08/04/2016 marked as: read

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