There's a reason they make you read this book in high school. It's brilliant on so many levels. But the best thing about this masterwork by Steinbeck is that it reaffirms the value of the human spirit over anything else in this world. Everything that is right and everything that is wrong about Mankind is laid out in simple, powerful, poetic prose. I'm kind of glad I was absent during that two week stretch in high school. I appreciate it so much more today than I would have then. And Steinbeck's take on banks and the wealthy versus the poor is downright prophetic in the context of today's political climate.
I read mostly nonfiction but this may change my mind.
what a stunning book and portrayal and the performance is perfect.
Especially in today's age of rising inequality, this book touches home.
could not recommend more.
Retired former magazine editor who is working harder than ever as Mr. Dad to his 13-year-old daughter.
The ride on this story was magnificent. The destination left me a little wanting. I like closure in my stories and this one could have kept on going without missing a beat, although the conclusion probably has kept this book out of some classrooms. I don't remember this book being included in the curriculum in high school and I now realize some of its content was probably titillating to the point that it would be banned. The writing is so good, though, that I'm hopeful high school students today have the opportunity to read it. Although it was set in the 1930s, it could easily be adapted to modern times and many of the prejudices and settings would be applicable. I'm pleased that I finally took the time to listen to this Steinbeck work. Well worth my time and credit.
This is a superb reading of one of the most compelling and well-written books of American literature. I wanted a book that would be good for a long trip, and it's certainly that. But I had no idea how much I would be drawn into the story of the Joads and of the destruction wrought by the disks of the combines. There are timely and cogent lessons here for us today, with entire states turned over to a mono-culture of corn. But forget the lessons, forget that it is literature, forget that you read it because you had to in school. Read this book because you can't put it down. Even when you know it all ends badly, you _care_.
I don't usually bother to rate books that have a lot of reviews, and since this book is a classic, I am sure it will get lots of reviews. I am 54 years old, and somehow I never read this book. I am giving this book a solid five stars, but I wanted to comment on the harmonica playing that many people said they didn't like. For some reason, I thought it actually added something to this book - normally I am somewhat indifferent to sound effects and music in audio books, but I thought it was very fitting in this book, and I did not find the volume objectionable. Having said this, I gave the book 5-stars; I am not rating the harmonica playing.
In "The Grapes of Wrath" Steinbeck tells of the story of the Great Dust Bowl. To tell it in both a personal and national perspective he alternates his chapters between the story of the Joad family and the broader story of the land and nation. Because he alternates the storytelling in this way, I thought the harmonica interlude spurned by many of the reviewers would actually be welcome, signaling the change from the personal story of the Joads to the collective story of the land and its inhabits.
It was NOT welcome, but jarring. The harmonica was recorded so much louder than Dylan Baker, the narrator, that a number of times it literally made me jump, so startling and out of place did it sound.
Dylan Baker did a great job of differentiating between the characters, but the cadence was so slow I sped it up on my Kindle.
I eventually gave up on this version and read the book.
"Grapes of Wrath" is well worth the read, and maybe a listen, but not this version.
I am a long-time Steinbeck fan. I've read literally everything he's written, including the odd, hard to find science logs and short stories. Getting to listen to this book after reading it a decade ago was a real treat. I enjoyed every minute. The narrator really added to this story. The way he pronounced "family" and "Rose of Sharon" made me feel like he had met the Joad family and traveled with them to make sure he got it all just right.
Listening to it now, in the middle of the current Presidential race, I appreciated Steinbeck's hubris in making his political views crystal clear.
The story is a classic for a reason.
Since discovering audible, my life is richer. I live in a small rural KS community, with higher than average IQ which can be a bad combo at times. Audible allows me to be myself.
I had never read or listened to this book. After reading East of Eden I thought now was the time to get this behind me. The book was not as good as E of E in my opinion, and the harmonica between the chapters made me cringe but it is a classic and I would recommend it. The ending was perhaps the best of all.
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
I'm glad I waited to read this until I was in my late 30s, with kids, during the Great Recession and OWS.