A controversial tale of friendship and tragedy during the Great Depression
Of Mice and Men – They are an unlikely pair: George is “small and quick and dark of face”; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a “family,” clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.
Laborers in California’s dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie’s unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.
“A thriller, a gripping tale . . . that you will not set down until it is finished. Steinbeck has touched the quick.” —The New York Times
Book Review by FCD117
Really Excellent. I Love Both The Vintage Book And The Reading Experince
This review is a work in progress. I have the 1953 book with an introduction by Joseph Henry Jackson. I found the introduction by Mr. Jackson to be very instructive and enjoyable. However it may be for more a student than the casual reader.
My book is from The Viking Press. It contains six short novels. They are mostly chronological in the order that John Steinbeck published them. The one exception is that the first short novel in the book is “Tortilla Flat”. The second is “The Red Pony”. These were composed, I think, in the opposite order. Mr. Jackson explains this. These are followed by “Of Mice and Men”, “The Moon Is Down”, “Cannery Row”, and “The Pearl”.
I read “The Red Pony First”. There is a lot in “The Red Pony” which reminds me “Of Mice and Men”. It is episodic. The first episode is “The Gift”, which is about a child Jody, and his pony. It is beautiful, poignant, and ultimately painful. The second episode is “The Great Mountains”. It actually is about a visitor to the same ranch that is the setting for first story. Jody and his family are in this story, along with an elderly visitor. The next episode is “The Promise” which is, more or less, a sequel to the first story. It is somewhat painful. The last episode is “The Leader of The People” which is a bittersweet story about a senior citizen member of the same family at the ranch. It is my personal favorite episode.
I completely enjoyed this novella “Of Mice And Men”. It is a relatively short work. It was written in 1937, before The Grapes of Wrath. I had previously read The Grapes of Wrath. I enjoyed this book more. I have very little formal education in regard to literature. So my opinion may be very faulty. Anyway, I felt this work was a more artistic work than The Grapes of Wrath.
This work reminded me more of Ermest Hemingway. I was very impressed. As is common with many shorter works, the author leaves a lot of questions unanswered. The reader is left to speculate why certain issues develope and are resolved in certain manners. I felt all the aspects of the relationship between George and Lenny were slightly unclear. The book ended with me wishing I knew more about George. My guess is that is intentional on the part of Mr. Steinbeck.
I would like to note that I purchased this “Of Mice and Men” on Kindle and at the same time purchased the audio book narrated by Gary Sinise. I felt Mr. Sinise was really excellent and I highly recommend the audio book version as read by Mr. Sinise. Mr. Sinise really added to the pleasure of the reading experience with his very professional performance.
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About the Author
John Steinbeck, born in Salinas, California, in 1902, grew up in a fertile agricultural valley, about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast. Both the valley and the coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919 he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years he supported himself as a laborer and journalist in New York City, all the time working on his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929).