Let me begin by ‘splainin’ something: Cannonball Read doesn’t begin until November 1st, but I’ve got all these reviews sitting in my Goodreads that are just begging to be placed front and center on the site.
So here’s how it’s going to work: I’m going to start posting backlogged reviews from Goodreads. Then, once Cannonball Read begins, I’ll number my posts so that you know how far along I am in the Read (that’s mostly for Nicole’s benefit).
But I can’t think of a more fitting way to start off than:
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is my favorite novel of all time. It was the book that introduced me to realism, made me want to major in English, made me love grown-up books. I can’t get through the first chapter without crying.
I love Steinbeck for helping us to see beauty in the mundane, and I think he did that best in this book. He takes an unlikely friendship between a ranch worker and a mentally handicapped man and shows us the beauty of the love between these two men. Dang it, I’m crying just thinking about it.
I first read it in tenth grade. My teacher passed our books out to us and, because I was bored, I flipped it open and started reading. I finished the book about halfway through lunch, and I was embarrassed to be crying over a book in front of a group of kids I’d only been friends with for a few weeks. But it’s been my favorite ever since.
There’s a certain pathos to Lennie Small — the man whose name belies his size and whose size belies his intellect. He’s too much of a child to understand his own strength, much less the ways of the world around him.
And then there’s George Milton, Lennie’s guardian. He resents the massive burden that Lennie is to him. When others around him are living however they like, George has to worry about Lennie. They are surrounded by a pack of lone wolves. But what George really doesn’t understand that despite everything, Lennie’s love for him sets him apart, gives meaning to his otherwise meaningless existence. Lennie clings to George and slows him down — and George loves Lennie more than he understands.
The winner of the 1940 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, Of Mice and Men reminds us that beauty isn’t always about appearance and it doesn’t always go with joy. The tale of George and Lennie’s friendship is mundane, brief, and tragic.
But it’s beautiful.