Yes. The characters were so life-like I felt I was living among them. And the expository sections of the novel (there were just a few) were read with such conviction, I felt the author was presenting his case to the Supreme Court.
So many I'd have to outline the book. I guess I'll choose when Tom Joad says goodbye to his mama.
A performance that sounds like a whole cast of characters. Amazing voice talent!
Too long for that, but it was one I looked forward to hearing some of every day and was sad when it ended.
A story that has shaped our American culture. We should all know it and apply the lessons from it now and into the future.
I have to credit my best friend with making this book a priority in my life. We both love to read, but she's only seriously recommended a handful of books that most affected her. Thus far she's been pretty accurate. I loved Jane Eyre, and I just finished Rebecca last year. This one though, the one that impacted her the most, has been the longest coming. I've lost count of how many times I've attempted to read this one, but I just haven't been at a place in my life to really appreciate the weight of it as a whole, until now.
This was Steinbeck's commentary on the times during the Great Depression, and the subsequent tribulations that befell the working class—the hardest hit during the economic downturn. At it's core, the Great Depression really unveiled the greed behind faceless banks and corporations, interested in making a profit, rather than the children that were being turned out of the only homes they'd ever known.
"There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation...the fertile earth, the straight tree rows, the sturdy trunks, and the ripe fruit. And children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And coroners must fill in the certificates—died of malnutrition—because the food must rot, must be forced to rot."
Although it's been 75 years since it's publication, today's economy isn't too much different. In a land that is figuratively "flowing with milk and honey", many people go to bed hungry. We may not be farmers, but it's hard to throw a rock and not hit someone who has had their home foreclosed on—their "land" taken out from under them. Don't even get me started on people who live here illegally, who are taken advantage of by their employers. They're grateful for a job that will fill their bellies, but isn't enough to improve their situation. If boss man decides he can't afford to pay them that week, what recourse do they have?
It's hard not to want to take the Joads under your wing, and protect them. As you follow along with their preparations to head to California to farm other people's land, you can't help but know that things aren't going to end happily for them. What warms your heart is that no matter how bad their situation gets, they always try to assist others. Ma Joad said it best:
"'I'm learnin' one thing good,' she said. 'Learnin' it all a time, ever' day. If you're in trouble or hurt or need—go to poor people. They're the only ones that'll help—the only ones.'"
And then there's dear Tom Joad—the wise beyond his years ex-convict who sits in as the family patriarch, and probably my favorite character, next to Ma. Coincidentally, I had stumbled upon Walker Evans' self-portraits a few weeks before I started reading this book, and he kept popping into my mind when I pictured Tom. Really, most of Walker's early pictures seem to encapsulate the general mood of that era.
If you haven't read The Grapes of Wrath yet, why not join the NPR book club, and read it before it turns 75. You won't regret it, I hope. It seems like it can only get better with re-readings.
What a fantastic story. Totally blows away Gatsby, which actually is a boring classic. Top-notch narration, too. You cannot go wrong with this audiobook.
Take note of the great dialog: The backward, southern-simple speaking is nonetheless ornate with wisdom and clarity of thought.
I recommend this book to everyone. What an amazing story. The descriptive writing of Steinbeck feels like a movie playing in my head. I felt like I was living with the Joads, experiencing first hand the pain of the dust bowl, the depression and the California migration. Harkens back to my days as a Dickens fan. I didn't want it to end.
I loved how I got to know the characters, felt for them and lived with them. I loved how Steinbeck wrote a generic, historic chapter in between the very personal trials of the Joad Family. I am grateful that Steinbeck was able to entertain and educate me at the same time. I believe I am forever changed.
I listened to the book and also borrowed it from my school's library. I found myself replaying the parts that I read. Mr Baker brought every character to life, it was quite impressive. I felt like more than one person was narrating the book. He brought a different tone and inflection to each character and he didn't waver. I was able to follow the narrative with the voices as much as the words.
I don't think I could have. I needed to connect with my feelings often so the breaks were needed and welcome. I stretched out the last chapter because I didn't want it to end. I was not disappointed in the end or any part up to the end.
I liked the harmonica, not my favorite instrument, but the sometimes discordant notes fit with my feelings.
No. I rarely listen to or reread books. There are too many on my list. This should not deter you from listening. This
When I think of the Woody Guthrie songs "Do Re Me" & "I Ain't Got No Home", I think of "Grapes of Wrath". Steinbeck writes an amazing social commentary rich in history wrapped in a compelling story. It is a part of US history that we would rather not face.
Steinbeck could not have realized that many of the themes he wrote about resonate today. I will not spoil the book in any way by discussing them here.
It may be my imagination, but I Dylan Baker sounded like Henry Fonda. So iconic was Fonda's performance, I may simply not have been able to get it out of my head. That being said, Baker conveyed the same soft spoken character and strength that I remember of Fonda's performance. Brilliant.
I would consider the narration to be excellent, but I can't say it is better than the print version due exclusively to the very VERY annoying harmonica music that blasts the eardrums out between chapters.
The layers of the story are masterfully crafted, from the characters to the setting, the sounds and flavors of the people and the land are poetically tragic and beautiful.
...ruined by harmonica.
Read the Book.
Dear Audiobook Producers, Enough with the music, already. We listen to audiobooks for the story - music is just an annoying distraction and in the case of this book, a painful one. Your sound editor needs a spanking.
I have 4 Audible accounts and my wife thinks I may have a problem.
This one of them books you wish would never end. It's heartbreaking and gives you pause.
This was a long listen, which is what I wanted. Also it is a classic, again what I wanted. On this basis, it ranks high. The book outlined the good and bad of our society during a time of great prosper....and .....despair. It was excellent! A little slow in the 1st quarter, but I felt it picked up once the "family" began their travel westward.
The drive of the characters to fulfill their basic needs to have food, clothing and shelter. The innovation of how they were able to survive made me realized how lucky I am to have not been in their shoes. It allowed me to appreciate how much I have and how little I could have.
There are an awful lot of people in this country that should take the time to read this book and reflect on being a little more caring and sharing with others that are not quite as fortunate.
We all read Grapes of Wrath in high school. Well, read it again. Speaking for myself, it is one of the most moving, heroic, and inspirational novels ever written. And, Dylan Baker's reading is one of the top five I've listened since becoming an Audible.com member years ago.
The ending of the book will play over and over in your mind's eye.
Tough choice.......probably grandpa.