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.
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
I'm glad I waited to read this until I was in my late 30s, with kids, during the Great Recession and OWS.
This has been one of my favorite novels for decades...film also. I had this tucked away in my wish list for a couple of years and decided to treat myself. Don't wait to purchase this! Dylan Baker gives this wonderful novel a new life. Ma and Tom Joad he nails to perfection! The 'women's committee' at The Weed Patch Camp have distinct personalities and bodies. Dylan reads each one with hilarity, yet gives them the respect they deserve. Grandpa Joad is even more obnoxious and stubborn if that is possible. His stubbornness is born out of fear and a deep loss.I still feel a great sadness with every read when Grandpa becomes a shell of a man being forced off his tenant farm, then dies while on the road to Caleeefornia. His sad yet dignified burial in a unmarked grave with a note written by Tom on a filmy blank page torn from a bible, stating who this dead man was, why he died (not of murder) but from a stroke. Because 'the law' is more interested in the welfare of a dead man over a live one. Steinbeck was threatened with death if he stepped one foot into California after he published this book. It wasn't only California exploiting the decamped tenant farmers. Oregon and Washington had their big fat greedy hands in the unscrupulous business of working men, women, children and the elderly into early graves. However, Ma Joad was right when she says they are the people that survive. A wonderful book indeed.
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 live, breathe, read.
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.