There is a message of family, hope, hard work, and overcoming adversity in the pages of this book that echo through the ages. There are also messages of fear, despair, heart ache and pain that resonate just as much. This is a truly remarkable story, told in stark prose that brings out the characters and the emotions like few authors can.
Hard to believe that I am 39 and this was my first time reading this book, I never had to read it in High School. I'm glad I picked it up now, I likely would have seen it as a chore as a teenager, but as an adult I didn't want the book to end. I wanted to follow Tom Joad, I pulled for him like I have pulled for very few fictional characters.
The reading of this book is adequate. Newer recordings seem to contain voice talent which enhances the story. This reader neither enhances or takes away from, he just reads it, and for a book like this, that works fine.
But it's the story. No it's not even the story, it's the people. It's how real the people feel and how much you can feel both their pain, and their genuine love for each other, that make this book remarkable.
Having not read this in high school, I was not sure what to expect. The situations and challenges the populace are subject to brought anger and sadness and shock to me as the reader.
I'm not sure what is the most depressing book I've read now, this or the Doomsday Book. I think story wins out, due to the social commentary and how the antagonist(s) are greed and rooted in human behavior and not a disease.
The harmonica startled me at first, but after the third time hearing it, I feel it really helped set the mood. The volume could have been lowered a tad though.
Absolutely! I write Literature Guides for novels and I am recommending in the Guide that every teacher who teaches this novel buy the audiobook from Audible and play the recording in class as the students read. The book has tons of description, which high school students may tire of, and this narration is so amazing, I honestly think the kids will WANT to listen.
I could not possibly choose a favorite character. They were all rich and round, and the narration gave each of them their own individuality. UNBELIEVABLE NARRATION!
I especially enjoyed Dylan Baker's depiction of young Tom Joad. His voice was perfect for the part, because I have seen the movie with Henry Fonda and he sounded EXACTLY like him to my ears! Even if he hadn't sounded like Fonda, the narration is so good, you feel like you know him, understand him, and care about him.
I felt especially saddened when, as the Joads were traveling to California, the boys in the gas station called them dirty and talked about how ignorant they were and how they weren't smart enough to understand anything or care about anything. They saw them as bad people, when they were truly good people--just people in unfortunate circumstances. The entire novel is a great lesson on tolerance!
The historical aspect of this book is so realistic and enriching. I am sure that those who read this novel will learn a lot about how destitute people were during the Great Depression and get a true feel for the way it really was and how people were forced to live. Also, it is amazing to me how Steinbeck was able to tell the story so well using basically nothing but dialogue. Though there were short chapters that gave some background information, the dialogue is so powerful, it really creates the story on its own.
Baseball Fan and Hawaiian Music Afficianado
A poignant story that rings true. Even though it is set in an American of the past Century, Steinbeck's words about the plight of the powerless remains gut-wrenching.
The narrator does a nice job of telling the story and handles the voices very well.
The only reason I did not give five stars for performance is that there is a short harmonica riff between chapters which gets really old after about three chapters.
Well worth the listen!
Had never slogged through this book before...looked pretty grim. But I was totally caught up in the audio version...it's a transforming book....most of us never experience anything like this, but at least this gives us an idea of what it must have been like for these migrant workers (and still is to some extent). Don't miss this experience!
I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
The Grapes of Wrath is about family and its disintegration under the grips of the Great Depression. The mother, the main character, is an icon of strength and determination -- that's the only positive. You can’t help but admire her determination and leadership. I wish more people today would demonstrate her will for family unity and well-being. There are many lessons in this novel and a great deal of symbolism. As with many stories of this era, much is left unresolved and riddled with symbolism, which is not the style of today’s novels. Today we want everything tied up in a nice little package at the conclusion.
I enjoyed the work but I have to say it was not a favorite. I am pleased to have met the mother, but I think the other characters didn’t do anything for me and were rather flat. I remember being required to read this in high school – I didn’t, I read the Spark Notes instead and aced the test. Coming back to it 35 years later, I feel like I didn’t miss much. Unlike a Tale of Two Cities which I felt was a homerun and was pleased, The Grapes of Wrath left me flat just like the Jode family.
I woul rate this as one of the best, Dylan Baker adds the extra dimension, that my inner reading voice lacks. Steinbeck has an illustrative nature that puts you right in the middle of the dust bowl.
After writing multiple book reports though out my education (all based on Cliff Notes) I am proud to say I now have read this entire book and while it was not all that interesting at 15, it certainly was this time around....
The audio version, with the expert handling of Dylan Baker, is far more enjoyable than the print version, because he brings the just-right tone of voice to each of the characters. The inter-chapters can be tricky to navigate and fully comprehend, in terms of their purpose, in print, but Baker made them sensible and clear-of-purpose. I am deeply impressed by this audio book!
If I could've spent the hours it takes for Baker to make his way through this tale in one sitting if only I didn't have a full-time job and family to mind...his reading was brilliant and the story--dare I bother to say?--is riveting.
This is not one to miss...if you are questioning whether or not to listen to this classic on audible.com, I implore you to buy it and listen. I have no doubt you will be glad you did!
The story is more like a meditation and the narrator navigates it beautifully.
Tom Jode...because he was so compelling. But I loved his inflection with the priest. And his women's voices were outstanding. Truly remarkable considering the scope of the story and the range of characters.
"A true American classic." (I've never read this book and I don't consider myself to be overly patriotic, but this story wouldn't be quite the same in any other setting)
This was my first experience with an audible "classic", with this story, with this length in audio form, and with this narrator. I truly can't imagine a better experience with this story.