Book #29: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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. Tackling universal themes such as the friendship of a shared vision, and giving voice to America’s lonely and dispossessed, Of Mice and Men has proved one of Steinbeck’s most popular works, achieving success as a novel, a Broadway play and three acclaimed films.

I actually read this book back in high school and loved it then. It is a quick read set during The Great Depression. It is one of those books that just stays with you. So, when a friend suggested I buddy read with them, I thought why not. I don’t often reread books, but I was intrigued to see if it would call to me like it did in high school.

It did a bit more than that.

I used to love Lenny and really dislike George. I found him mean and unable to really comprehend his motivations or feelings about the more mentally challenged man, Lenny. Though I grew to quasi-like George the first time I read it, I was able to understand him better now.

I take care of my younger disabled brother for a living. I would do it even without the pay. That said, he does get on my nerves sometimes. In the past, I don’t think I was ever really in a position in my life where I would get mean just to push out my frustration. Not to him. The others, I’m sure I have.

That said, today it’s a little different. I am quick to realize my mistake and we make up whenever there is a frustrating moment like that. I’m not proud of those moments, but they make me realize just how human we all are and really, in a way it strengthens our sibling bond because he is my brother and I treat him that way.

Though George and Lenny aren’t related and aren’t in the same situation, I have grown to relate to George better this time around. The story itself is even more heartbreaking though. Because now that I see myself in George, I am seeing myself in that situation.

I don’t think I could do what he did even though I understand it. I can’t fathom it.

The book itself hasn’t grown in rating from this second read through, but my respect for it has. Of Mice and Men is a book worth teaching and rereading.

Final Rating: 4/5

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