Robin's Reviews > Cannery Row

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
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Jun 18, 2009

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bookshelves: history-california, classics
Read from May 17 to 20, 2010

Steinbeck describes the sardine cannery area of Monterey during the Great Depression through a series of vignettes about its eccentric residents. It’s interesting to note that though Steinbeck fictionalized the name of the street on which the canneries were located, Monterey later renamed the street (Ocean View Avenue) Cannery Row after this book was published.

Characters include a Chinese grocer, a whorehouse madam with a heart of gold, a beer-guzzling marine biologist, the leader of a gang of bums who always messes up despite good intentions, the other quirky bums who live at the Palace Flophouse and Grill, an average couple who lives in a discarded boiler in a vacant lot, a rejection slip-ridden writer and his poor wife who loves parties but can only afford to invite cats. The plot, ostensibly about a party, is designed to showcase the characters.

This is a fun short read for those who have visited Monterey, or better yet who have worked in a cannery. There has never been a shortage of eccentrics in and around the canneries, and it is known that at least some of the book’s characters were based upon Steinbeck’s friends. Enjoy!
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04/22/2016 marked as: read

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