Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*'s Reviews > The Pearl

The Pearl by John Steinbeck
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Read it and philosophize while you read it and weep.

Sometimes I have to wonder what the people who write the back blurbs of these books are thinking (or smoking). The back says "THE PEARL is a book to be read many times and cherished forever." What they're talking about, I can't imagine. If you choose to get pissed over and over again, then by all means keep reading this tragic story.

I get what Steinbeck is saying in his beautiful writing voice - to be content with what is had and to not let the lure of greed drift you too far out, lest you lose everything. It's kind of like the principle of this ridiculous short story we had to read in elementary school - I can't remember it's name, but the point of the story that the teacher and book taught irritated me then too. I get what he's saying, I just don't agree with his perspective.

What I take from this fable is that a man gets a break in luck in fortune, something he hopes for in order to save his child's life and better the life of him and his wife. People try to steal and rip from him his fortune with THEIR greed, and he stands strong and tries to fight back, refusing to bow to the injustice of thievery, deceit, and people trying to suck out the joy in others lives. It's a matter of principle to try and protect fortune that comes your way, whether through blessing or hard work or that rare stroke of genius. There is no shame in fighting back against the tides of unfairness to protect what is yours and to work toward something better.

I can't bring myself to rate something higher than 3 stars if it pissed me off with its ending, but I can respect this book because it's John freaking Steinbeck, it's a fable that's so well done it may as well define the word 'fable' in the dictionary, and because it wasn't only the alluring pull of the pearl that kept drawing me further in.


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Quotes Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Liked

John Steinbeck
“Luck, you see, brings bitter friends.”
John Steinbeck, The Pearl


Reading Progress

October 27, 2013 – Shelved
August 16, 2014 – Started Reading
February 28, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-16 of 16 (16 new)

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message 1: by Emma (new)

Emma Love this. I had the same angry response to the themes in Hemingway the other day. I'm still annoyed now.


message 2: by Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (last edited Feb 28, 2016 01:50AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Emma wrote: "Love this. I had the same angry response to the themes in Hemingway the other day. I'm still annoyed now."

Thanks Emma. I can't stand when books annoy me or piss me off. The Kite Runner just did that tonight too (haven't finished it yet) - not my day for pleasant reading apparently.


message 3: by Beth (new)

Beth Roberts This is, as you've observed for yourself, exactly why Steinbeck and Hemingway are so critically important. To be able to draw that depth of emotion from the reader in writing that is so subtle as to be laconic, is a rare, rare skill. Steinbeck has always been my favorite of the classic American authors for that reason. Those emotions are drawn from capturing human emotions and distilling them down to their basest forms without the modern use of foul language, graphic depiction, and/or lurid sex scenes (not that there's anything wrong with any of that - I read plenty of it!). If you don't want to continue to be pissed off, don't rush headlong next into Joseph Conrad's "The Secret Agent" or Somerset Maughm's "Of Human Bondage." I read the latter in high school. Years later, my son was born with severe clubfeet and I remembered that book and the horrific suffering Maughm's character endured because of the same affliction, then a major handicap - now just a "footnote" in the life of a young man currently able to serve his country in the U.S. Navy. Great literature has the ability to haunt us and teach us humility and gratitude all our days. Anger from "The Pearl" is a gift. Comgratulations Erin - you confirmed what I already knew: you're an itelligent, discriminating reader whose opinion can be valued and trusted.


P-eggy I enjoyed this review a lot. It made me think.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Beth wrote: "This is, as you've observed for yourself, exactly why Steinbeck and Hemingway are so critically important. To be able to draw that depth of emotion from the reader in writing that is so subtle as t..."

Thank you Beth. I think your paragraph right there trumps my review, you nailed it perfectly. Appreciate the compliments though. I have read three books by Steinbeck now and enjoyed all three on various levels - Of Mice and Men (rated 5 stars) and Grapes of Wrath (rate 4 stars). Look forward to more of his work. I see in it a common theme of suppression and having to live among challenging circumstances that don't paint the American Dream in pretty colors.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Petra X wrote: "I enjoyed this review a lot. It made me think."

Thank you Petra! Coming from you that's a great compliment. I know you usually read nonfiction that has some heavy themes.


P-eggy That's because I don't write up quite a lot of the books I read. Saturday afternoons I read books for the under-6s. I really like those big picture books with funny stories. I get through loads. I do buy them for the shop but I buy quite a few that just appeal to me and hope they sell.


Amy (Other Amy) This is a great review, Erin. The Pearl is one of those books I had to read in school that I wish they had had the sense not to force on people. It is a very make-you-spitting-furious kind of book. I really should give it another read.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Amy (Other Amy) wrote: "This is a great review, Erin. The Pearl is one of those books I had to read in school that I wish they had had the sense not to force on people. It is a very make-you-spitting-furious kind of book...."

Thanks for commenting Amy. If you give it another read, at least you'll know beforehand what you're in store for.


message 10: by Delee (last edited Feb 29, 2016 12:44PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Delee The Pearl has been my favorite Steinbeck so far. He is the KING of foreshadowing- so I knew it wasn't going to end well...but for some reason I soooooooooo disliked Of Mice and Men, and really liked this one to my core. I am obviously in the minority on that opinion.

I know you disagree with my love of this book...but still a great review Erin. Disagreeing always makes life interesting when people are not swearing and cutting each other down. ;)


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Delee wrote: "The Pearl has been my favorite Steinbeck so far. He is the KING of foreshadowing- so I knew it wasn't going to end well...but for some reason I soooooooooo disliked Of Mice and Men, and really like..."

Very true Delee, as long as I don't get a shelf called "Books Erin read wrong" like Jeff LOL


Delee No- I tend to pick on the boys (Jeff and Dan) more than the girls (for the most part)...I think boys are more deserving of picking on than girls...lol


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Delee wrote: "No- I tend to pick on the boys (Jeff and Dan) more than the girls (for the most part)...I think boys are more deserving of picking on than girls...lol"

LOL So true


Ɗẳɳ  2.☊ Nice review, Erin. I've read a few Steinbecks way back in the Stone Age, but never this one. The latest was East of Eden, which felt overlong and drawn out, maybe I'd have better luck with these short ones.

Oh and, the only problem with Delee's theory is that I have yet to read one wrong. :P


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Dᴀɴ 2.❄ wrote: "Nice review, Erin. I've read a few Steinbecks way back in the Stone Age, but never this one. The latest was East of Eden, which felt overlong and drawn out, maybe I'd have better luck with these sh..."

I haven't tackled East of Eden yet, but it's on the ever-so-intimidating TBR list.


Madeline Your review was on point!


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