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Of Mice and Men – Book Review

The best laid schemes o’ mice and men
Gang aft agley [go oft awry]
And leave us nought but grief and pain
For promised joy!
by Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759 – 96)


John Steinbeck’s classic novel, Of Mice and Men, is one of three novels he wrote exploring the California agricultural labor phenomenon of the 1930s (the other two were The Grapes of Wrath and In Dubious Battle). In this novel, Steinbeck focuses on the friendship between two men – George and Lennie – and their shared dream of owning land and a home of their own. The story is simple and occurs over the span of three short days on a Salinas Valley ranch where the two men have found work as farm hands. Thematically, Steinbeck explores the idea of dreams and how plans may go awry  through forces beyond one’s control. Given the time in which the novel was written, his handling of the mentally handicapped Lennie is tender and compassionate. Steinbeck describes setting beautifully, and wraps it around the characters whose personalities emerge through their dialogue and relationships with each other. There is enough foreshadowing to predict the novel’s tragic end.

Highly Recommended.

7 Comments

  1. Anonymous Anonymous
    July 13, 2007    

    I’ve heard that Stephen King’s new novel is a take-off on ‘Of Mice and Men’, so perhaps I should read this first. I’ve been meaning to read it anyway. I loved ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ so much, I don’t know what has taken me this long.

  2. Anonymous Anonymous
    July 13, 2007    

    Which King book are you talking about, Kookie? I’d be interested in checking it out! If you love The Grapes of Wrath, you’ll like this one. I read it in less than 2 hours – it’s a hard-hitting, slim novel 🙂

  3. Anonymous Anonymous
    July 14, 2007    

    This is one of those classics I really want to read some day. Thanks for the review.

  4. Anonymous Anonymous
    July 15, 2007    

    I have read East of Eden, The Pearl and The moon is Down. THe Grapes of Wrath is on my list. May be I should add this too.
    I like Steinbeck.

  5. Anonymous Anonymous
    July 15, 2007    

    “Blaze”. I came out a couple of weeks ago under the name of Richard Bachman.

  6. Anonymous Anonymous
    July 15, 2007    

    *nods* I just bought Blaze…I hadn’t heard it compared to Of Mice and Men, but that makes me want to read it sooner! I’ve read all the Bachman books up to this point and really liked them. I have high hopes for Blaze.

  7. Anonymous Anonymous
    July 15, 2007    

    Nymeth and Gautami: You should definitely read this book – it is a quick read and well written.
    Gautami: If you are a Steinbeck fan, I think you’d like this one – and it really is one of his classics.

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