The Classics Club Spin #31 – Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Posted October 30, 2022 by elzaread in Book Review, The Classics Club / 6 Comments

Greetings you guys! I am ever so proud of my Mommy. She just managed to finish her Classics Club Spin #31 book. Luckily it was a quick read, but by no means a light or an easy read. I’m sure we are in the minority of Classics Lovers who haven’t read this one yet:

The Classics Club Spin #31 – Of Mice and Men by John SteinbeckOf Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
on February 25th, 1937
Genres: Classics
Pages: 112
Format: Paperback
Source: VCS
Goodreads

“I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's
why.”

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. But George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own.

While the powerlessness of the laboring class is a recurring theme in Steinbeck's work of the late 1930s, he narrowed his focus when composing 'Of Mice and Men' (1937), creating an intimate portrait of two men facing a world marked by petty tyranny, misunderstanding, jealousy, and callousness. But though the scope is narrow, the theme is universal: a friendship and a shared dream that makes an individual's existence meaningful.

A unique perspective on life's hardships, this story has achieved the status of timeless classic due to its remarkable success as a novel, a Broadway play, and three acclaimed films.

To review this book, will be no easy task either. If you look on Goodreads, there are over 43 000 reviews on this book, some of our  favorite readers and bloggers amongst them. It does appear as if we are going to be in the minority with our 3.5 Star review as well. Yes, this book was beautifully written – wow. You can get lost in the prose and forget about the content as a whole. But then again, reading is a holistic experience.

So why only 3.5 stars? The world has changed. Hasn’t it? Somehow, it became lighter. Somehow, it became heavier to carry a friend. Somehow, having a piece of the land isn’t the dream anymore. And somehow, we live in that world and adapts to it. As humans do. We become isolated to the story of George and Lennie. Animal cruelty will not be tolerated, even in literature. The aptness there of is notwithstanding. Racial and gender discrimination that are just a shrug of the shoulder, need to lead to some form of empowerment or revenge at the very least. Isn’t that what this world long for these days?

I absolutely hate the fact that even my Mommy wanted more from this classic tale. I think she will realize in days to come, that as with most really good classics, it takes time to sink in. To take root and to grow in your thoughts, until you realize that having a piece of the land, is still the dream. To carry a friend, is never a heavy load. To lay him down, that’s when it becomes heavy. The world hasn’t really become lighter, just fluffier.

She might need to read this again. It is a quick read after all.

Lots of Love,

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6 responses to “The Classics Club Spin #31 – Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

  1. A wonderful review, Mareli. For me, novellas and short stories are always far too short. I love your thinking about how the world has changed and we perceive it differently. And yet, this story has a great impact on most readers. I think Of Mice and Men is still a very important book that has to tell us a lot and John Steinbeck is one of the greatest authors that ever existed.

    My Spin ’31 was Shirley by Charlotte Brontë.

    Marianne @ Let's Read recently posted: Brecht, Bertolt "The Caucasian Chalk Circle"
    • Hi there Marianne!

      Aah thank you! I miss the days of “dissecting” a book for school or university. There really are a lot of life lessons to learn in reading a book that way. I think I would have loved this one as prescribed reading at school, but I don’t think this one was ever on a prescribed list in South Africa.

      Can you believe it was my first introduction to Steinbeck as well? It won’t be my last, that I can promise you for sure.

      Thank you so much for all the links you’ve shared, I can’t wait to read them all.

      Thanks for stopping by Marianne!

      • You’re welcome, Mareli. I have learned so much from other readers and am always happy to pass on my thoughts and hopefully contribute to their enjoyment of reading as much as others have done for me.

        We have completely different reading materials in different countries, sometimes that’s good, often it’s not. We should all be able to read as many different authors as possible from all over the world. As I said, we can only learn from each other.

        I have read a few books by John Steinbeck (as you can see in the link above). They are all fantastic but if you want to read a quick one, “The Pearl” is quite a short story. However, as you probably know, I always prefer longer ones.

  2. I read this when I was in twenties, I think, which would have been 50 years ago. I really don’t remember whether I liked it or not, but it was memorable. I should read it again.

  3. That’s exactly what a classic does for me…you nailed it. I think about it one way and I feel like I understand it, and then a little later I think about it again and I question my first thoughts…on and on and on. And a classic is a book that you can talk about with almost anyone; even if someone hasn’t read it, she has heard about it and has thoughts about it.

    I’m so happy you finished your spin!

    Deb Nance at Readerbuzz recently posted: Unlikable Characters We Hate and Love