Book Review: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck on Friendship and loneliness.

“Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.”

186521Read: 12th, February, 2017

Estimate reading time: 5 minutes, 35 seconds. Contains 1116 words.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Three months back I went to a bookstore and found two book kept side by side, at first I was very indecisive when it came to making a choice between this book and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, I really like both the writers so I ended up buying both of them and reading both of them though I still have to read last few pages of In Cold Blood, I’ll make it happen, I know that and I’ll write about it soon.

So about this book, the book cover says: The compelling story of two outsiders striving to find their place in an unforgiving world. Drifters in search of work, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other and a dream–a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley, but their hopes are doomed as Lennie, struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy, becomes a victim of his own strength.

Before I begin I must say that I love John Steinbeck’s books, I haven’t read them all but whatever I have read I always loved it. I really like the profound messages one can find while reading his books and how he can write stories about rookies and ordinary working class people and make them relatable to everyone reading them. Great Depression indeed provided him with a whole lot of subject to write about and it’s worth reading.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck which he wrote in the year 1937 is based on the theme of friendship and loneliness. It’s a story of two drifters in search of work during the time of Great Depression, it’s a story of their companionship and friendship and how people need each other.

“A guy needs somebody―to be near him. A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you. I tell ya, I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick.”

George and Lennie have no one other than each other in the whole wide world, they don’t have a place to live. But they have a dream, one common dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Lennie asks George to tell him about their dream repeatedly throughout the book because Lennie is forgetful and he likes when George tell him what they both would do when they will have land of their own.

“Everybody wants a little bit of land, not much. Jus’ som’thin’ that was his. Som’thin’ he could live on and there couldn’t nobody throw him off of it.”

George is street smart and wise while Lennie is big, strong and dumb or I may say mentally handicapped(I don’t know how to put it subtly). Lennie likes to touch soft things but since he is strong that most of the times he kills them and creates trouble for both of them.

“Trouble with mice is you always kill ’em.”

George is a good friend he takes care of Lennie though he sometimes feels trapped with him because he thinks he can be so much more if he doesn’t have to take responsibility of Lennie. He constantly complains that if he did not have Lennie then he could have a girlfriend or go down for drinking and build a life for himself but then he takes care of Lennie as a parent and he genuinely want Lennie to stay with him.

“Guy don’t need no sense to be a nice fella. Seems to me sometimes it jus’ works the other way around. Take a real smart guy and he ain’t hardly ever a nice fella.”

When you read this book you can feel emotional appeal and can feel for every character. The undertone of this book is loneliness, every character is lonely, some are so lonely that they long for attention, they are afraid they will lose their partner, won’t let go because they are afraid they will be left alone, be the leader so that they get to have followers and try to stay put with people and what happens to people when they are isolated.

Few things were terrifying for me because I’m someone who tends to isolate.

“A guy sets alone out here at night, maybe readin’ books or thinkin’ or stuff like that. Sometimes he gets thinkin’, an’ he got nothing to tell him what’s so an’ what ain’t so. Maybe if he sees somethin’, he don’t know whether it’s right or not. He can’t turn to some other guy and ask him if he sees it too. He can’t tell. He got nothing to measure by. I seen things out here. I wasn’t drunk. I don’t know if I was asleep. If some guy was with me, he could tell me I was asleep, an’ then it would be all right. But I jus’ don’t know.”

Curley’s wife, although a bizarre woman but yes she longs for attention, she indeed is left alone and she does feel lonely. Candy won’t let go of his dog because he knows that he will be left alone even though his dog stinks and left with no life, Curley always looking for his wife afraid he would lose her to someone else, Slim being the leader so that he can listen to people and be around them.

In Chapter 3 Candy says, I oughtta shot that dog myself, George, I should not oughtta let no stranger my dog.

George from above statement did learn some lesson.

I really like the symbolism of the snake which Steinbeck used twice in the story, once when George and Lennie first came to the ranch and second time towards the end of the story.

“A water snake glided smoothly up the pool, twisting its periscope head from side to side; and it swam the length of the pool and came to the legs of a motionless heron that stood in the shadows. A silent head and beak lanced down and plucked it out by the head, and the beak swallowed the little snake while its tail waved frantically.”

The symbolism of snake bring the forces of evil and symbolizes something bad is to come and here in this story it totally foreshadows death. In the beginning of the book that very snake glides without harm.

This book is straight realism, it’s life and has some kind of sweetness but most of it is heart-wrenching and a bit depressing.

I think I’ll never forget about this book because the way it ended was heartbreaking and completely brutal. I still remember how I felt while reading this book and how the ending completely drained me.

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Rainy Day Reading List

What can be more wonderful than curling up with a book on a rainy day with a hot cup of coffee or tea? I can’t think of anything because for once I love rains and I love books and I always appreciate a good cup of tea or coffee.

ReadingOnARainyDayThough I can’t predict when it will rain at your place, or I can’t really prepare a cup of coffee for everyone. But I can make a list of books that you can enjoy in rains. Oh! the charm of it, ahh.

I have curated a list(not exactly a list) for everyone and I believe you will like it.

By the way, what do you prefer reading on a rainy day?


Romance 

Classics

1. Jane Eyer by Charlotte Brontë

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“The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter – often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter – in the eye.”

 2. Wulthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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“He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

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Contemporary 

1. It Happened One Wedding by Julie James

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“He took a step closer. “Think about it this way, Sidney. You have to walk down the aisle next to me
at this wedding. We’ll be in numerous photos together—photos that the entire Sinclair family will
look at for years to come. If my job as a groomsman is to complement you, do you really want to put
your faith in whatever I might come up with?”
She considered this for a moment.
“Let me just grab my purse.”

2. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

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“Alexander, were you looking for me?”
“All my life.”

3. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

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“How ever, I’ve learned that the heart can’t be told when and who and how it should love. The heart does whatever the hell it wants to do. The only thing we can control is whether we give our lives and our minds the chance to catch up to our hearts.”


Psychological Thriller 

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1. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

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“Fight Club is not football on television. You aren’t watching a bunch of men you don’t know halfway around the world beating on each other live by satellite with a two-minute delay, commercials pitching beer every ten minutes, and a pause now for station identification. After you’ve been to fight club, watching football on television is watching pornography when you could be having great sex.”

2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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“A lot of people lacked that gift: knowing when to fuck off.”

3. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

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“This world can only give me reminders of what I don’t have, can never have, didn’t have for long enough.”


Crime/Mystery 

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1. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by  Arthur Conan Doyle

“I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window here. Was ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the duncoloured houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material?”

2. And Then They Were None by Agatha Christie

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“The amount of missing girls I’ve had to trace and their family and their friends always say the same thing. ‘She was a bright and affectionate disposition and had no men friends’. That’s never true. It’s unnatural. Girls ought to have men friends. If not, then there’s something wrong about them….”


Classics

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1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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“He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.”

2. Love in the Time of Cholera by  Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

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“But when a woman decides to sleep with a man, there is no wall she will not scale, no fortress she will not destroy, no moral consideration she will not ignore at its very root: there is no God worth worrying about.”

3. A Room with a View by E.M Foster

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“When we were only acquaintances, you let me be myself, but now you’re always protecting me… I won’t be protected. I will choose for myself what is ladylike and right. To shield me is an insult. Can’t I be trusted to face the truth but I must get it second-hand through you? A woman’s place!”

4. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.”


Children/Teenagers

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1. Little Prince by  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

2. Inkheart by  Cornelia Funke

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“If you take a book with you on a journey,” Mo had said when he put the first one in her box, “an odd thing happens: The book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it. It will all come into your mind with the very first words: the sights you saw in that place, what it smelled like, the ice cream you ate while you were reading it… yes, books are like flypaper—memories cling to the printed page better than anything else.”

3. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”

4. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger

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“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”


Teenage Girls

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Series

1. Shiver Trilogy  by Maggie Stiefvater

“I’d found heaven and grabbed it as tightly as I could, but it was unraveling, an insubstantial thread sliding between my fingers, too fine to hold.”

2. I heart Series by Lindsey Kelk

“Sometimes we get so used to not really feeling anything, just going with the flow, that we forget how it feels to be really happy or sad.”

Young Adult

1. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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“It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.”

2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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“For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.”

Paranormal Romance

1. Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

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“Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.”


Dystopian

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1. Never Let Me Go by  Kazuo Ishiguro

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“Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.”


I hope you enjoy them and the rainy day!

So, What do you prefer reading on a rainy day?

Happy Reading!