Mike (the Paladin)'s Reviews > Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
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's review
Sep 30, 2009

did not like it

I know...classic, movies, been around for years, greatly respected author, etc., etc., etc. But, nihilism leaves me cold...

Enjoy if it's you...but (and I've used this quote before) this book typifies "life is hard and then you die". Who cares how well the story is written that gets you there.

The very quality of the writing here made the experience worse for me. It has been brought to my attention of late that Steinbeck was a gifted writer. It's true he was, and the message in the story he relates here carries that much more weight. I suppose the bottom line is, I live in the world where pain happens, a lot. I don't really need it here. So, I leave my rating as it is because my experience here remains a 1 star experience. So, as I said for you who love this book, and I know some...I'm happy for you, I don't and I can't really recommend it.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 30, 2009 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-19 of 19) (19 new)

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message 1: by Nathanael (new)

Nathanael I just want to say I totally agree with what your saying about the whole escapism thing. I agree that there is a nobility in the entertainment industries in the form of offering an escape to people who actually do have allot of pain and hardship. A perfect example of this would be poor kids in third world countries going to the cinema for perhaps the only excitement they will ever have, and finding solace in a comic book and getting lost in imaginary worlds. The last thing they want is someone pontificating about the tragedy of poverty and the hard truths of life. In some ways that stuff is for the people who have good lives so they can feel world conscious and 'aware' of the problems so to speak.

I'm not saying it doesn't have a place, it does, but sometimes people have misconceptions about the value and use of light entertainment vs heavy 'life' stuff.

Luke Scicluna How dare you call reading 'light entertainment', sir.

Mike (the Paladin) To be fair Luke, he did say "sometimes". That's "a" great thing about books, they can be so many things.

message 4: by Nathanael (new)

Nathanael Luke wrote: "How dare you call reading 'light entertainment', sir."

I didn't call reading light entertainment. I said sometimes people have misconceptions about the value of light entertainment vs heavy 'life' stuff. It's not ambiguous is it? How could you make the conclusion I'm making an absurd blanket statement like 'reading is light entertainment.' I think you need to read things more thoroughly before you start firing 'how dare yous' around.

Lambert So you appreciate the quality of the writing, acknowledge its timelessness, yet give it 1 star because you don't like being shown the harsh side of life.

message 6: by Nathanael (new)

Nathanael Lambert, did you overlook this sentence?

"I suppose the bottom line is, I live in the world where pain happens, a lot. I don't really need it here. So, I leave my rating as it is because my experience here remains a 1 star experience."

He isn't ignoring the harsh world, he lives in it.

There are two ways to review a book (or any art for that matter). One way is an intellectual approach with a defined criteria for judgement. The other is simply personal experience regardless of objective value structures. He acknowledges this in his review. For instance, Mozart was considered a musical genius, however if I couldn't stand his music how would I rate it? I guess I could say "This symphony is generally accepted as a masterpiece but it's not for me - this is why...".

This review is a 'user experience' review as opposed to a structured critique of the book. If you're after the latter I think there are enough of those reviews on here to whet the appetite of anyone with that particular form of breakdown in mind.

Mike Trendel You should devote time to reviewing fluffy, feel-good literature. What recommendations to have for quality literature that ignores the harshness of life?

David Sarkies While I like the literary merits of the book, I stand by Mike's rating and understand where he is coming from. Having a mentally disable brother brings this book very close to home.

Mike (the Paladin) I had a high school instructor who loved this book and insisted I read it. He never understood why I disliked it. I tried to explain it wasn't that book failed to do what it was doing (so to speak) it's the whole attitude behind the book. The negativity of the depression era and Mr. Steinbeck himself.

It's a matter of taste.

Tessa in Mid-Michigan I totally agree! I gave it 2 just 'cause of his writing ability. I would never have read it if the kids at the juvenile lockup hadn't challenged me to do it with them. They really trounced on knowledge, too! I read it and then didn't see them for a couple months, so I had forgotten all these details...Heh. Such a depressing read.

message 11: by A.D (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.D K All stories are about how much life sucks and how you die in the end. Most of them just don't follow through.

Mike (the Paladin) You just told us more about yourself and your personal outlook than you did about literature. The idea that all stories are based on "life is crap and then you die" is nonsense. Try reading some C.S.Lewis.

Tessa in Mid-Michigan Read reality, A.D, and try Corrie ten Boom's The Hiding Place! There is always hope and we can always choose to be kind.

message 14: by A.D (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.D K It all really comes down to your point of view. I've read Lewis, and I liked both the context and the writing; doesn't mean I believe in heaven, or talking lions hiding in my wardrobe. by the way, you missed the the joke.

Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* I personally loved your book, but see where you're coming from - an intent and viewpoint that influences the writing of the book and story can sour it big time for the reader.

message 16: by Greg (new) - rated it 1 star

Greg Mike, I agree, one-star rating. Reminded me of the tragedy porn genre like "The Road."

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