by John Steinbeck
I have wanted to read this book for some time. It has been a set work in English High Schools for years and so I thought I really should give it a go. I borrowed a copy from a friend and my first reaction on getting my hands on it was: “gosh, this is short!” At just 88 pages it has to be the shortest “serious” book I have ever read.
Steinbeck is a renowned and very well respected writer, so I expected one of his most popular and famous novels to be something special, especially now that I knew it was little more than a long short story. Maybe I expected too much, because although I found it interesting, it was not, as far as I am concerned, a great book.
I know, to be negative about such a book is almost like a sacrilege but it is what I felt.
Don’t get me wrong; it is a good story, with interesting characters, particularly George and Lennie, who I felt in instant report with. The portrayal of 1930s itinerant workers and America’s mid-West is revealing and just a little touching.
Whilst I enjoyed the story itself, and can’t dispute the quality of the writing, I found the whole thing just too short and lacking any depth or direction. I wanted to know more about Lennie and George, Curley, Slim and the rest.
The fact it is so short and the simplicity of the tale is probably the reason it is so popular in schools.
For me, it was disappointing – more of a plot outline or introduction than a real book.