Readalongs with Ange discussion

April - East of Eden > Final Thoughts (spoilers)

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message 1: by Ange (new)

Ange | 54 comments Mod
Here we can discuss our overall thoughts on the book

message 2: by Ygraine (new)

Ygraine (oephelia) this was so beautiful & i'm so glad that this readalong prompted me to pick it up; my previous experience with steinbeck's writing has nothing at all on this. i love narratives that deal with generational trauma & the ways that patterns of pain reinscribe themselves from parent to child to grandchild, but more than that i love love love narratives that suggest that trauma can be healed and that pain can be transformed. this was one of the most heart-wrenching but hopeful endings i've read in a while.

message 3: by Nikki (last edited Apr 08, 2018 09:23AM) (new)

Nikki (nikkiivie) | 1 comments I was going to follow the reading schedule suggested, but I got so sucked into the book that I had to finish it.

In the Introduction in the edition that I have, Steinbeck is quoted as saying that all of his previous books were preparatory for this book. This is the one book that he was born to write. This is completely evident in the beauty of the writing. His writing is truly masterful. It was particularly evident to me in how Steinbeck portrays time. As a reader the time flowed effortlessly, years might pass in the story without feeling that events were missed or forgotten.

The Biblical metaphor of Eden, Cain and Abel was so delightful and added a depth to the text. And, of course, there's the eternal theme of good versus evil, which is so poignantly portrayed through his characters.

At the beginning of the sections Steinbeck would often have a chapter addressing a more philosophical aspect of the story. I thought these were completely engaging.

And I don't know if there could be a better ending--each human being is endowed with good and evil and we can choose which side we will embrace!

I'm sad that it took me so long to discover this book. It was a thoroughly enjoyable and fulfilling read. A definite 5 star book.

message 4: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey (bookedforlife) | 6 comments I finished reading the second half of this book last Friday. I was just too engrossed to pace myself anymore. (Plus, I had a long morning of travelling and it kept me occupied until I reached my destination.)

This has become one of my favorite books and I suspect it will remain a favorite for many years to come (even the flight attendant on my trip agreed it's incredible).

The characters are just so well fleshed out and each is an individual. They're real, and flawed, and engaging. The writing style is beautiful. It's descriptive without being dry, poetic without being heavy handed and pretentious. The theme of good versus evil, and the exploration of the nature of humankind is well depicted throughout the story.

I was a little unsure how I was going to feel about the Biblical tie-in, given my feelings toward religion in general, but I actually quite liked the characters' discussion of the Cain and Abel story and the parallels in their own lives. (The 'C' and 'A' names that continued from one generation of Trask brothers to the next was a nice touch.)

The ending was sort of bittersweet for me. Partially because it left the characters in a devastated, but hopeful place in their lives, and partially because it meant the book was over, and I couldn't read anymore about these characters I'd come to love so much.

All in all, I gave it 5 stars and I'm really, really glad I read it. I've been missing out (still kicking myself), and I'm definitely going to read more by Steinbeck in the future. (I may have ordered more of his books yesterday, even after buying several books while I was out of town, oops!)

And, I'm sorry for all the parentheses; I'm rather attached to them! XD

message 5: by Ange (new)

Ange | 54 comments Mod
I just finished this morning and absolutely loved it in the end. I can't believe it took me so long to read it but I'm glad that I finally did.
His writing is phenomenal and when I was reading it I couldn't put it down. I finished the last half of the novel over the weekend and was sucked into the story. I loved how all raw, honest and gritty it was.
I agree the ending was definitely bittersweet, but that it leaves you with hope.
Brilliant book and brilliant characters (even though Cathy is the epitome of evil)

message 6: by Henna (new)

Henna (hennasbooks) | 4 comments The ending sure was bittersweet but it was more than I was hoping for. At one point I was convinced that nobody would be alive at the end of the book.. So this ending left me hopeful for the future.

All in all I really enjoyed the story and as everyone has been saying, the writing was beautiful. He created such real and complex characters. This will definitely not be my last Steinbeck book :) Thank you Ange for picking this book!

message 7: by MªJesús (new)

MªJesús Tovar | 20 comments Thanks to this readalong I have finally picked up this book and I’m so glad!
I like the characters with its shadows and lights, always in constant struggle with themselves.
What I like the most are the speeches of Sam and Lee.
I find the ending is perfect. It’s up to the human being to choose its way.
It won’t be the last Steinbeck I read, sure!

message 8: by MªJesús (new)

MªJesús Tovar | 20 comments I wanted to say it won’t be the last reading of Steinbeck.
Next one The grapes of warth.

message 9: by Quirkyreader (last edited Apr 21, 2018 06:35PM) (new)

Quirkyreader | 14 comments This story was even better the second time around.

And what struck me the most was that Cal was able to find love and acceptance from Abra. Her love for him was always in plain sight and he was able to see it.

message 10: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 14 comments It just hit me that I have never added my final thoughts on the book.
I was just thinking of " Timshel".(Thou mayest) I think my favorite part of the book was when Samuel and Lee were discussing the bible and Timshel. Then again in the end when Adam asked Lee about it. It just really made me think. We all have that choice to do good or evil. To love or hate. I don't think I would have enjoyed this book in school or even 20 years ago.

I can't wait to read more by Steinbeck. This book will forever be one of my favorites and definitely gets a 5 stars from me.

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