Friday, August 29, 2014

The Grapes Of Wrath, Book Review

This month's book club read was John Steinbeck's  The Grapes of Wrath.

I will be honest with you. I was looking forward to racking up another classic on 
my "I read that" list.  I had read Of Mice and Men years ago and liked it. So I thought
this was an obvious choice. 

I finally finished it this week and it left me scratching my head, wondering who decides
which stories will be "classics" and which stories won't. 

I'm not saying that I didn't appreciate the story and the great descriptive details
that were so helpful in understanding the plight of migrant workers from our 
own mid-west.  As well, the mistakes of Big Government and Big Banking were 
not lost on me either. In some ways it reminded of our most recent housing bubble.

What I found disturbing is the fact that this book is required reading in many 
high schools and in some jr. high schools. It has a lot of adult content and 
adult situations. I would not recommend it for anyone under 30. Why, you might ask.
Most young people in our country today would have no way to relate to this level
of misery, pride, dignity or desperation and hopelessness. I think that it takes some
living and experience to be able to see beyond the pitiful and depressive subject.
I think that this important time in our history is better taught by a good history teacher.

I also HATED how it ended! What happened to young Tom Joad? Did AL and 
Agnes make it on their own? Did the family even survive the first year in California?
Really Mr. Steinbeck? How could you leave your precious reader dangling?

Does anyone else ever ask, 
"Classic? Says, who?"


Meg said...

I had to study this book in high school in Australia.....I hated had no bearing on the OZ way of life or history and I hated the characters....YECH...hated the movie too!!!!

Liz Hockamier said...

Now that is even more mystifying!

acorn hollow said...

Yes I read catcher in the Rye as an adult and left me scratching my head why it was a classic and everyone was so excited about it.

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

The only Steinbeck book I liked was The Red Pony. Yes, you have to wonder WHY some stories are required reading. How about making Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs required. ha!

April Dunlap said...

I read it in high school and was just shocked and disgusted at the ending. It was the first full book I had read that left me wondering "WHY" did I bother, why is this a classic, why did I have to read this, and what WAS his point? My hs senior has not read it yet. I don't think she will. There are other ways to learn about that time period. :)

Sarita Boyette said...

I'm like you! I often wonder who chooses the best for the Oscars, too. I recently read this book, like you, adding to my classics list. I can see why it was a banned book. Yes, only adults should read this. When I was in H.S., we were supposed to read "The Catcher In The Rye" but some parents got together and got it removed from the reading list. I just recently read it and I understand this was not a book for me at the time, a very sheltered Baptist girl in 1971.

Juju at Tales of said...

Interesting. You bring some great points. I should retry it. I feel like it went over my head in high school.