Saturday, October 23, 2010

100 Days of Fantasy: Day 73

This is an ongoing series looking at books that have affected me as a fantasy author.

Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck

OF MICE AND MEN .I'll say it right up front: If you can read this classic novel without shedding a tear, you are one hardcore, cold, heartless bastard.

Since nearly every kid had to read this one in school, do I really have to give a synopsis of the plot? Okay, just in case: During the Depression, two displaced workers find themselves landing a job on a ranch in California. One of these workers is George Milton, bright but down on his luck. The other workers is Lennie Small, a huge ox of a man who also happens to be mentally disabled. George and Lennie are best friends, with George looking out for Lennie in hopes of keeping the simple-minded fellow out of trouble.

Unfortunately, keeping Lennie out of trouble is easier said than done.

I'll leave off any further synopsis, for those who have not had the joy of reading this novel. It's truly an American classic that everyone should read.

Steinbeck is definitely an opinionated writer, and I've always felt he did a good job of presenting his views without slamming the reader over the head with them. Others, generally those diametrically opposed to Steinbeck's views, often say otherwise. I consider myself middle-of-the-road politically, so maybe that's why I feel the way I do.

Politics and sociology aside, Steinbeck is a good, solid writer who knows how to make characters you can love and plots that seem to come together effortlessly. He's not a favorite of mine necessarily, but he is a darn good writer.

Up next: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

2 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I actually didn't have to read this one in school, which irritates me because when I did read it as an adult I loved it. I liked Cannery row somewhat better but this was certainly an excellent book. My aversion to classics might have been averted if we'd read this one when I was in school

Ty Johnston said...

I didn't have an aversion to classics in general (thank god I discovered Alexandre Dumas at an early age), but I do blame school on my hatred for all things Dickens.