Mariel's Reviews > Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
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's review
Nov 29, 2007

it was amazing
Recommended to Mariel by: probably my mother
Recommended for: loners

** spoiler alert ** [Reading other goodreads reviews of this brings home to me that I really was in the classes for kids they'd given up on. I never read Of Mice and Men as required reading assignment.]

Tell us how it's gonna be...

I've never wanted a book to spontaneously change endings so badly. I yearn for that little place as much as they do. I wanted them to have it desperately. Proof the incredibly sad ending isn't hopeless is that on a reread I could still hope it would end differently. Oh, it does happen, loneliness and cruelty and mass mob hating mentality. The possibility that it won't, that people might come through, is still a chance. Otherwise why bother reading a book such as this one.

Lennie dying alone like a dog haunts me. The dying with honor issue I've read about in other stuff isn't an issue with me. Dignity, yes, because in this case the dying was robbing his life of dignity. Lennie had precious little of it as it was. I know that in those times that kind of thing was not unheard of (or much later than that). Still, depressing as shit. Maybe those kinds of hateful things make some kind of a stain on the atmosphere, like a ghost. (If ghosts exist, I imagine they'd come out of something like that. Why are ghosts usually from like Colonial usa or Civil War times? Not the 1970s?) So the dying and the living are the same as both are long over. It should never have to be that way.

Curly's wife haunts me. I related her to Lennie in their inability to think and mourning what happens without any possibility of understanding why. I see in her other abused women and find it heartbreaking and frustrating and reminding.

Of Mice and Men touched on a lot for such a little story. I find that I think of it for comparions when thinking about things like what we owe other people, and expectations of ourselves and others. George's exhaustion of taking care of Lennie, and how everybody else let him down. It's awful to be completely alone, and awful to have to carry so much yourself. Burdens can also make you feel weighted to something. I don't know, I just think about George sometimes. I catch myself being suspicious of what people want, want, want from everybody and those expectations and then I remember George and how it wasn't all bad having someone else to think about like he did for Lennie. It's scary to rely on anyone else. I get why George wanted his little place.

Read this the first time in a middle school science class by holding the book under the desk and ever so slightly ducking my head to read my lap. (Probably as subtle as kids today text messaging.) I had a hard time keeping it together. (Any time they talked about their little place with Candy made me squirm in my seat in excitement.) (I stopped reading books under the desk after that. Did it all the time in elementary school, but for lighter fare like Ramona Quimby series and Dr. Suess.) [I read it on the sly. The smart kids were forced to read it. Maybe those kids were sneaking in The Outsiders inside their textbooks?]

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Comments (showing 1-30 of 30) (30 new)

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Catherine I loved this book. It's one of the only times I didn't wonder what crack everyone was smoking to make this a "classic."

Mariel I wonder what the criteria for making a classic is. It probably helps to be required reading in school to keep the memory alive. Some books I hated the hell out of, like Vanity Fair. Why?

Catherine I don't believe I've ever read Vanity Fair. I guess I lucked out there. :)

I don't know what the requirements are. They baffle me sometimes because some of those books really suck. Not all of them, but a good chunk.

Mariel I read lots of classics when I was younger because the book stores all published their own cheap versions at competitive prices. My grandparents would give me bookstore money and I'd run to those tables and try to get as many as possible for my bucks. At least I didn't read them to write essays about or that'd change any hope of enjoyment. My teachers tried to get original and assigned us books like The Outsiders INSTEAD OF Great Expectations. No one minded (I'd already read it). Some Dickens I loved, others I hated (Pickwick Papers, half of any of the biographical kids-to-adult books. Like King he was too prolific and wrote word count to get paid more. Hm).
Mostly we were assigned agenda books for the teachers messages. One guy loved Roots and Uncle Tom. Actually had to read those in different classes. We read the same Sherlock Holmes story every year (amazingly, redhead guys I know have not heard of the red headed league. How did they escape?! Every. single. year grades 4-11).

Children's classics are usually right on target.

Some books just get outdated. Gone with the Wind is one I consider to feel dated now. Not that I can't see why anyone ever liked it.

Catherine I enjoyed The Outsiders. :)

My teachers were all really hot about Shakespeare. I had to read his stupid plays again and again. I know everyone loves him, but I hate his writing! I think he is way overrated.

I read a lot of books like Oliver Twist and White Fang when I was a kid. I loved that stuff!

Mariel We read and watched The Outsiders movie in every class one year. Even science! We all had fun making fun of Emilio Estevez's white pants.

I do love Shakespeare but it isn't the same when read by illiterate fourteen year olds. Some of the bad acting made me die of embarrassment (not even speaking of me. I had a stuttering problem that developed only in front of audiences). They only let you do the same three (Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Hamlet). That's a shame. He wrote so many different types of stories. High school teachers...

I consider the '50s-'70s to be like this golden age of kid's lit.

Catherine I preferred Poe to Shakespeare. :) Why couldn't we read him constantly?

Mariel We did. In the south we love our southern writers A LOT.

If you ever decide to give Shakespeare another go, I'd recommend trying one of the good film versions. Last year I rediscovered The Taming of the Shrew starring Richard Burton and Liz Taylor. I'd thought it was a creepy movie as a kid (didn't help my mother loved it) and Burton gross. Second time around it was really sizzling.

Catherine I might take a peek at it. :) My mom loved the musicals, so that was my diet growing up. I still love them. My husband hates when I make him watch them too.

Mariel My sister's ex forbade all musicals in their home. I was like "Whaaat?" I do hate Shirley Temple with a blinding passion because mommy dearest tried to make little Lauren (my twin) and me into little Shirleys. She also had dolls of her all over the house. So creepy. I like musicals depending on the kind of music, I guess (duh it's musical tastes, Mariel). I love Gene Kelley very much. Can you believe I only saw Singing in the Rain last year? Where have I been? Best movie ever!

Catherine *gasp* I can't believe it! I love that movie.

White Christmas is a traditional watch every year in my mom's house. Those movies hold great memories for me. :) She also liked (and I did too by extension) Cleopatra and Gypsy and the like.

Mariel Ooh Roses turn is a great song.

Our christmas movie was The Ref starring Denis Leary and Kevin Spacey (and my fave Judy Davis) made in 1992. It's weird but I remember reading that that is a traditional Canadian's christmas movie. I loved that little tidbit.

And there's It's a wonderful life.

Catherine Ah, yes. It's a Wonderful Life was seen often in my house too. So was The Preacher's Wife. My mom loves that movie.

message 14: by Cory (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cory The Gary Sinise movie was pretty awesome. This is probably my favorite Steinbeck book.

Esteban del Mal Strangely, I have never read this.

To the bookstore! With a '40% Off' coupon in tow and a spring in my step!

Mariel I hope you like it! I got into an argument with a former friend (recently former and recently discussed) about the meaning of this book. He was wrong!

Esteban del Mal I decided to play it safe and go the library route. I'll try to read it this week...I've got some time freeing up between my pilates class and my contract killing for the mob on Tuesday.

message 18: by Mariel (last edited Mar 05, 2011 02:57PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mariel It'd be impressive to read AND do pilates at the same time. Rex Harrison loves that. The ending will help in the mob killing. How to take someone out in one shot! Like a dog.

Lawyer Beautiful review, Mariel, of one of my favorite books--East of Eden is #1.

My favorite quote:
"Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don't belong no place. . . . With us it ain't like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don't have to sit in no bar room blowin' in our jack jus' because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us."
- John Steinbeck (1937), Of Mice and Men, Ch. 1

message 20: by Jeff (new) - added it

Jeff You should hide this review - I found a spoiler that I can't unread lol.

Esteban del Mal Hawt.

Esteban del Mal This is a first for me. I've never seen spam in a comment thread.

Venussssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss, as you can see from my avatar, I'm spry and compassionate. I'm also available.

For a price.

message 23: by Alex (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alex Lately You pretty much summed it all up, great read.It's such a touching story:(

message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Touching review. I'm really looking forward to starting the novel :)

Arnie Felt the same way. Read it twice and saw the movie with Burgess Meredith twice. Got to me every time.

Dolors Raw review Mariel. I wanted Lennie to have his little place desperately as well, but men like mice are unwillingly crushed by their closest kin. Maybe an act of mercy. Maybe an act of exhaustion. Both made in good faith. I guess that counts, doesn't it?

Mariel It counts :)

Dolors So so so nice to hear from you. Hugs and good vibes directed your way Mariel.

message 29: by Juan (last edited Dec 04, 2014 02:59PM) (new)

Juan Mitchell Lennies death only deepened my emotion towards this short story. I usually never sap over a book, but I definately caught the feels at the end. The ending shouldn't change as it really brings the tension and frustration built up, to a close whereas George doesn't have his best friend anymore, thus a mournful but whole conclusion.

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