Steinbeck’s tale of commitment, loneliness, hope, and loss remains one of America’s most widely read and beloved novels.
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 shared dream that make an individual’s existence meaningful.
Of Mice and Men also represents an experiment in form, which Steinbeck described as “a kind of playable novel, written in a novel form but so scened and set that it can be played as it stands.” A rarity in American letters, it achieved remarkable success as a novel, a Broadway play, and three acclaimed films.
©1937 John Steinbeck (P)2011 Penguin
My two favorite topics are Baseball and Military History. But my favorite books of all time are Starship Troopers and Ready Player One.
How unfortunate for me that I waited to age 38 to read Steinbeck. I so loved this book and immediately followed it up with his, Cannery Row and still looking forward to, The Grapes of Wrath. However, I did enjoy this one more than, Cannery Row (despite the fact that I lived five streets up from Cannery Row about eight years ago).
This year I've been running the gamut of Classics; some I've adored and others I'm left wondering why anybody gave a darn (e.g., My favorite has been 20,000 leagues, but hated The Time Machine, Frankenstein was amazing, but I can't finish Moby Dick; Animal Farm was so insightful, but I have no clue what's going on in The Brother's Karamazov).Of Mice and Men is easily third behind two of the aforementioned both in prose and story line.
Gary Sinese might be my new favorite narrator, but this has been the only book I've listened to with him as narrator where I've listened to several books narrated by Wil Wheaton. I had no problem listening at 3x speed.
I'm sure I will listen to this book over and over again; maybe I'll add it to my list of annual reads with Heinlein's, Starship Troopers, and Plato's, The Republic and The Allegory of the Cave.
Sinise reads with extraordinary skill, richly conveying Steinbeck's empathy, indignation and grasp of his characters' struggle. I used this in a classroom, and it made the text come to life for the students.
The narration was perfect. The voices added so much to the interpretation of the character's personality. Lenny broke my heart. As a parent of child with Downs, I understand how difficult it is for a person with a learning disorder to comprehend the society we have created. George was so devoted to Lenny, I just wanted to hug him. In fact, all the characters had their positive qualities (except for maybe Curly). A short listen - about 3 hours- but it is a deep, deep story that will leave you with thoughts that your brain will keep picking at for days.
Making the world better one review at a time.
Yes, and much of the credit for that goes to reader Gary Sinise, who gave unique life to each character in the book.
The conclusion is the most memorable part of the book for me. I work with adults with intellectual disabilities, and there is no doubt that Lenny had such a disability. In today's world there are services available to people like Lenny. He could have a home and a team of people dedicated to keeping him safe and teaching him how to live in the community. There were no such services in the world George and Lenny lived in, leading to a dramatic and heart-breaking conclusion.
I am not sure I would have enjoyed this book as much if it wasn't for Gary Sinese's wonderful narration. He really brought the characters to life. Really worth the time to listen to this classic.
I think every adult should take the time to revisit classics and Gary Sinese brings life to John Steinbeck's words like no other. Both men have true talent but when combined they are one of a kind.
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