Drifters in search of work, George and his childlike friend Lennie, have nothing in the world except the clothes on their back – and a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley, but their hopes are dashed as Lennie – struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy – becomes a victim of his own strength. Tackling universal themes of friendship and shared vision, and giving a voice to America’s lonely and dispossessed, Of Mice and Men remains Steinbeck’s most popular work, achieving success as a novel, Broadway play and three acclaimed films.
Yes, I’ve never read Of Mice and Men. I have read East of Eden though, and I loved it when I read it a couple of years ago. I’m so glad Mark gifted me this book, because I’m not sure if I’d have been drawn to this otherwise, having forgotten by love for Steinbeck’s writing.
I read this in less than 24 hours, as it’s quite a short book at just over 100 pages. My edition also included a 15ish page introduction about this book and Steinbeck himself and his other work, which was super interesting and also gave some background information about this story and the inspiration for it.
As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment.
As I said above, I’d forgotten how much I loved Steinbeck’s writing, but I really enjoyed the prose in this one. Although this one is only short, it’s so heartbreaking and beautifully composed. I felt so sad for the characters and the only way I can describe this story is it felt so emotionally weighted. It just felt so heavy. And although it was painful to read, I also loved it.
As I’m sure you all know, this book covers some very difficult topics including racism and following a guy who I would say has learning difficulties. Although this was obviously hard to read, it was also handled so well in my opinion, and packed so much into such a short story.
And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment.
Overall, I loved this story and although it was painful to read and made very emotional, it reminded me of how much I enjoy Steinbeck’s writing.
5 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽