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Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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

— John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men

    We’re all bound to hear about Mr. Steinbeck and his famous and critically acclaimed novels at least once in our lives. Of Mice and Men figures among his most popular works of fiction and there’s no denying that the praise it has received over time is very well deserved. This story follows the search for labour of both George Milton and Lennie Small. While George is a small, but smart individual who’s patience is always tested by his huge, loyal, but simple-minded friend Lennie, George’s continued support and friendship puts him in a tight spot far more often than he would have wished for. It’s upon arriving at a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley that their luck had changed and a job for both of them was offered. However, things are not as simple as it seems since Lennie’s inability to control his inhuman strength and to adapt and comprehend people and his surrounding is liable to wreak havoc. Of Mice and Men is a relatively short story that contains countless themes ready to assault every reader’s conscience and leave them bewildered and saddened by the end of the story.

    Everything in Of Mice and Men is genuine and enthralling. The writing manages to convey such an authentic voice to every single character that is introduced and succeeds in devising perfect chemistry between all the characters. From our two partners in crime to the natural leader at the ranch, John Steinbeck does a marvelous job in giving each of them a voice, a purpose and a message to ponder on. Of course, the friendship between Lennie and George is a fantastic and beautiful example of how expertly John Steinbeck delivers his story and creates his characters. As they fight through the obstacles that life throws at them, their shared dream keeps them moving forward and helps them maintain their heads up with an optimistic perception of their future. You can’t help but wish that relationships between individuals would be as pure as the one between these two fellows. Another wonderful example is Crooks, the stable buck, who’s words of wisdom are not to be taken lightly. His loneliness emanates through his actions and his thoughts. I felt a lot of empathy for him and truly appreciated the chapter dedicated to this man and his vision of life.

    The use of foreshadowing and repetition is also to be praised. I honestly didn’t expect these to be used so efficiently, but when it happened, I was astounded. The use of these techniques were so skillfully executed that a moment to pause and appreciate was very much required. It’s not the fact that words were repeated or cleverly foreshadowed, but rather the fact that the emotional weight that each word held at different parts of the story was unbelievably different. That’s what I found most magical about this book. Words could hold such a light and joyful tone, and still be conveyed, in a completely different moment, with such darkness and sadness. I believe that it was how dramatic and heavy those words became that made the ending so powerful. John Steinbeck does an unbelievable job in depicting human nature through such simple techniques and with so little words. That is beauty, my friend. Even the foreshadowing did wonders in conveying the complexity of human beings and how much regret can hold a man’s conscious by a string and haunt a person for life. Spoiler Sentence (highlight to see): « In particular, Candy and his dog’s dilemma could bring tears to anyone who saw all the subtleties of the decision that Candy was forced into and the repercussions of that scene on the ending, regarding George and Lennie. »

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    This is a brilliant classic. Even the pacing was insane. Hundred pages felt like ten, yet those ten pages were enough to blow my mind away. As much of an exaggeration that was, I was really mesmerized by the writing and ended up ravaging through every single page at a pretty high speed (very unusual coming from me). Was it predictable? Sure. Did it take anything away from the powerful and tear-inducing ending? Not at all. By the end of the book, you’ll be surprised by how brilliantly the whole story was unraveled. The clues, the analogies, the themes and the traps will suddenly flash through your mind and convince you that this book isn’t just another classic that you can pile up with the rest to be read in an uncertain future. It’s a novel that reflects on the different facets of kindness, on the strength of loyalty and on the power of friendships and dreams. Of Mice and Men is definitely a story worth visiting much sooner than you believe. This is my first, but definitely not my last stop of John Steinbeck’s work. If there’s one thing you should retain from my review is this:

This is a brilliant classic.


Have you seen the classic movie adaptation of Of Mice and Men starring John Malkovich and directed by Gary Sinise (he also stars in the movie!)?


Are you interested in Of Mice and Men?
You are, you say?
How about you read this book for yourself!
You can purchase your copy @Amazon Canada or @Chapters Indigo now!
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MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★★/

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32 thoughts on “Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

  1. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    Are you sure this is a brilliant classic? like really sure 😉 This is also a brilliant review of a book I have purposely put off each year. I have seen the film and am convinced the book will pull to hard on my heart strings.. they may snap. But now I am thinking it may be worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      Hahahah I’m a sucker for classics. Some people take off a star just at the thought of picking up one of those. Some actually found this way to sad and depressing that they weren’t willing to give it 5 stars (after all, star ratings tell you how much they “enjoyed” the book). But since you’ve seen the movie, you should already know what happens at the end. It’s definitely worth checking just for how the story was originally told. It still makes me shiver when I think about George and what he asks Lennie before Lennie does you know what at the end. The words he was spewing out felt SOOOO much different to how he initially tells it in the beginning. Crazy stuff. Really. Brilliant classic, I tell you! 😀

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  2. themusingidealist says:

    Thank you for this review. I have recently fallen in love with Steinbeck by reading East of Eden. His clear understanding people is clear and his dialogue is real and gritty. Then you also have his eloquent, broad-strokes about life, history, good and evil, etc. which are brilliant. I love him. I just wrote a close reading of one of his short stories on my blog. I’d like to read Cannery Row next. Have you read it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      I haven’t read any other books by Steinbeck. I do plan on checking out East of Eden, The Grape of Wrath or The Pearl next. I can definitely see how his work manages to touch upon so many aspects though. With just Of Mice and Men I could tell that the man was an adept writer who saw life in many, many layers. I haven’t heard of Cannery Row too. I’ll definitely drop by your blog to check your recent close reading of his short stories! Thank you so much for stopping by though, truly appreciated. 🙂

      – Lashaan

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  3. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    What a wonderful review of Mice and Men!! I adore Steinbeck’s ability to use foreshadowing and repetition effectively- because for so many books this can be a problem- but here it works so well! It really is a wonderful classic and Steinbeck is one of my favourite authors!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    This is a brilliant review Lashaan. I’m among those people who have heard of Of Mice and Men but never picked it up, in fact before reading your review I had no clue what it was even about. It was something some people in my year had I read while studying their GCSEs but my class did something different (not sure which book we ended up reading in the end).
    I don’t think I’ll pick this one up now, but you wrote a wonderful review for it and it does like an amazing book. I’m glad to see you enjoyed it at least! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      Thank you so much Beth! I actually haven’t even heard any of my English teachers mention Steinbeck (yep.. insane) back in high school or college (I went through a French Education system though). I totally understand why you don’t feel like running to your bookstore for a book like this one. It’s a complete change of era/writing style/vibe after all! 😛 Thank you again for checking out my review and for the kind words! 🙂

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

        That’s all right. 🙂 See I’m actually surprised you haven’t heard your English teachers mention it before. The only reason I’ve heard of this book (I’m sure) is because of high school.
        Yeah a massive change from what I normally read, but I’m still really glad you ended up enjoying this one! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      I wish I had the chance to read AND watch it back in high school. My school reading experience back then was pretty… underwhelming. John Malkovich is definitely a great actor. I’ve heard really good things about Being John Malkovich; I need to go see it soon! 🙂

      – Lashaan

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  5. Zezee says:

    I’ve seen the movie adaptation and read the book, but I did it so long ago that I’ve forgotten much about them. However, I do agree that Stienbeck accomplishes a lot in this book. I think I read it before starting high school or right after doing so, so this would be a good classic to start with (for those who usually shy away from the classics). It’s easy to connect to the story and characters. And I agree too that it’s predictable but still a good read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      Oh, definitely. It’s pretty short and an “easy” read too. Anyone who fears the overwhelming nature of a lot of classics can find this pretty “digestible”. Have you read any other books by Steinbeck? Especially one that you’d particularly recommend after Of Mice and Men? 🙂

      – Lashaan

      Like

      • Zezee says:

        I haven’t read any of his other books actually. But I’m really interested in trying Cannery Row. I think it’s a book about a community…(I might be wrong) but I have it stuck in my head that I’ll really like it (don’t know why). I’ve heard East of Eden is great.

        Like

  6. Chris Evans says:

    Once again my friend I’m enthralled by one of your passionate and thought provoking reviews! I remember studying ‘Of Mice and Man’ back in school (we were even treated to a viewing of the John Malkovich movie in class!) I confess I’ve forgotten most of the details about this story but it’s one that I’ve always intended to revisit in my adult years where I’ll no doubt appreciate and better understand it’s themes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      Thank you, sir! You are quite lucky to have gotten the chance to experience both the book and the movie back in school. I would’ve probably adored it as a youngster, from my experience recently. Since it’s a fairly short classic, there’s no doubt that you’ll be able to fit this into your schedule anything in the future to dive back into what made this book so powerful! 😀

      – Lashaan

      Like

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