Of Mice and Men

Author:John Steinbeck (Bio) | Publication:September 1, 1993 by:Penguin Books| Series: N/A | Length: 110 pages | Genre: Young Adult/Teen, Classical Literature, Fiction | ISBN:9780140177398 |Source: Amazon | Book: Amazon (here)

They are an unlikely pair: George is “small and quick and dark of face”; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a “family,” clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.Laborers in California’s dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie’s unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.

All any hard working man could want these days was a little piece of land to call his own and to live off the fat of the land. That was always the plan for George and Lennie save for the face that Lennie was always getting into trouble. George being the brain always found them work and Lennie who for all purposes is an overpowered child in a man’s body. They are on their way to the next job with one goal in mind, to work hard enough to buy their own place so they never have to work for anyone again. When they arrive at the new job they are immediately challenged by the boss’s son Curley and have a run in with his flirtatious wife. George and Lennie make a plan with old man Curley to pool their money together and buy this little piece of land. All they have to do is make it to the end of the month. One day while the other guys are out playing horseshoes, Curley’s wife catches Lennie alone lamenting over the puppy he accidentally killed while playing with it. She takes advantage of Lennie’s like for soft things and offers to let him touch her hair. She starts screaming at Lennie and he panics, held holds tight to her and in his panic accidentally kills her. Lennie runs for it and when the others discover what he’s done they chase after him with one goal, to put him down. George finds Lennie first and kills Lennie himself because he knew there was no saving him from this situation.

I have been taking the time to throw a classical book or two into my reading lineup whenever the feeling is set upon me. While the story is short it is so powerful for this tale. Lennie is all George has and it is established rather quickly that without him Lennie would not be able to survive on his own. George plays two roles for Lennie being both a father and a brother to him. Steinbeck was able to paint such an amazing picture very quickly of the dynamic of their relationship without taking the time to explain every detail of it. When reading I think the death of the puppy really struck me, but showed exactly what the reader was supposed to gain which was Lennie’s pattern of behavior. As with previous incidents Lennie never meant any of the trouble he caused, but that does not mean his actions did not have disastrous consequences for the time period. I feel for George because he really does all that he can to protect Lennie without chaining him down like an animal, but in the end it wasn’t enough with what was bound to happen. The day when Lennie went too far and it was something he just could not be saved from.

Although I read this book over 5 years ago a fresh wave of emotion him me while reading again. It really is a true tale of love and friendship even in the end. George was not going to let Lennie suffer or fall into anyone else’s hands. He took the only opportunity he could to protect Lennie one last time. It hurt as I got to those final pages knowing exactly what was going to happen and knowing that like George there was nothing I could do to protect the lovable Lennie. I love this story and it really pulls at my heartstrings as I could see this being a real thing even today.

If you are looking for a short classical read then I suggest putting this at the top of your list. This can easily be read in a day or two days at most if you’re taking your time. Grab a box of tissues or at least be ready for some feels when going through this.

A link to the author’s bio is listed above as well a link to purchase the book. Steinbeck is an amazing author who has blessed us with countless other tales that are enriching and deeply thought provoking. Keep an eye out for other reviews of his work coming soon.

I rated this book a 4/5.

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