Friday, April 20, 2012

Tome Time - The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Started January 11th, finished February 17th.  534 pages.

This was a book suggestion for Great American Novel from Adnams.  Thanks for the recommendation.

I had no idea what the book was about before reading.  I just knew it was set during the Great Depression.  From the outset I was intrigued by the introduction of the characters.  My main aim was to find out what had happened to the people as they were introduced and how they'd got to where they were.  Just enough, a bit at a time was revealed about each.  I liked most of the characters.  This was where my difficulty with the book lay.  I liked these people, empathised with them to an extent.  This made it a very hard read.  There is no relief in this book.  The world they inhabit is one of the bleakest I have come across in fiction.  Made all the bleaker by it's reality.  This is our world at its worst.  No fantastical, supernatural forces or huge disasters.  Just a series of things going wrong through no fault of those that suffer.

The depiction of the pitfalls they encounter constantly and the 'nasty' characters willing to exploit them is very depressing.  This book is heartbreaking.  Your hindsight can see the folly in their plans and what is bound to happen.  Whilst knowing that there was no correct option anyway.  You wish there was an out for this family but you know that an unrealistic happy part would ruin the book.  

This is a very, very, good book.  I ma not sure it is one I will ever read again though.  I found it very hard going.  It may be shallow but I find I enjoy books where I can escape my little problems.  One where I leave them for 1000's of families in a dire situation didn't give me a sense of peace but of misery.

3.5 out of 5 pawprints  It only lost the 1.5 because it made me sad.

Next - River God by Wilbur Smith

Book 3 of 2012, total pages 1,082


Andrew Neill said...

One of those books that I have heard of but never knew that much about. I am not reading a lot at the moment and usually like a nice cheery or happy read but will keep this in my mind if I am looking for a book in the future.

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