Of Mice and Men / John Steinbeck / 105 pgs / Classics, Historical Fiction, Young-Adult

In a world consumed with darkness and cruelty, George and Lennie have all but their friendship, and a dream. A dream to own their own land, with cows and chickens, and of course bunnies. But can George keep his simple minded but extremely dangerous friend Lennie safe in an unforgiving world? And will their dream ever stand a chance against the thousands lost?

Quick Summary

LANGUAGE: The language was pretty bad. Common words though, such as the “d” word, “b” word, “h” word, etc. But they were used constantly in everyday conversations. (take into consideration that these were different times and words meant different things, an example would be the dogs, they always referred to them as bitch)

VIOLENCE: now, there wasn’t too much violence, but there were definitely some disturbing scenes. George and Lennie talk about how Lennie keeps killing small animals by accident, and Lennie keeps telling him that it’s an accident, but he does it so easily. There is a scene in which a man’s hand is crushed by another man, another scene in which a character is shot, and another scene in which another character’s neck is snapped. Nothing really graphic, but rather dark and sad.

QUALITY: Well, to be honest, nothing stood out to me. I really hate to say anything against classics, but I really can’t say anything great about it. To be honest, I’m not that huge of a fan of Steinbecks’, so that is definitely one reason I can’t review the quality with a sound mind. HOWEVER, his character development was really impressive.

OVERALL RATING: Well, I can’t answer. It was a very good story, but it was just so dark and sad, but kind of beautiful at the same time. Very realistic, I think Steinbeck did a pretty darn good job of the portrayal of that century. Would I suggest it? All classics should be read, whether you think you like it or not, that’s my way of thinking on it anyway, but this was pretty intense, insightful though.

This book wasn’t quite what I expected… I will be completely honest, I read this mostly because it is a reference in the show Psych (my life if you wanted to know…), but I also knew it was a classic, so I decided to read it. It’s not that long at all, you could read it in one sitting if you really wanted to, but anywho, let’s get down to the details….

LANGUAGE: Now, you know how I feel about language, I’m very sensitive to it, so this book bothered me on that level. It was used so frequently, despite how light the words are. There were many instances were they used a word that is considered language today, but not necessarily back then, such as calling the dogs bitch and such. They did that quite frequently…

VIOLENCE: Oh boy…. This aspect of the story was very…. intense. There wasn’t anything graphic, in fact, there’s only one scene with blood, in which two men are fighting and one of them gets punched in the nose and it starts bleeding. The other scenes concern Lennie… He is a huge simple minded man. He’s as kind as it gets, however, he’s freakishly large, and has, on several occasions, accidentally killed small animals, such as rats, bunnies, dogs. This isn’t like someone who enjoys killing them, he genuinely loves the animals, but he gets scared to easily and when he freaks out, he squeezes his hand and it kills whatever he’s holding. Quite innocent, but also very upsetting. Lennie keeps explaining it’s an accident, but there is something that truly make it creepy. He doesn’t seem to care that he just killed something. At first you think he does, he gets so upset, but after a bit, you realize he’s just upset because he’s afraid George will get mad at him. To be honest, I’m actually far more afraid of people like him then of people who kill animals for fun. Why? Because they’re unpredictable. They don’t seem to understand the importance of life. It’s so easy for them to take it, that it means nothing to them. They just can’t see it. It’s like someone who is incredibly rich. Buying something as small as a piece of candy means nothing to them, nothing compared to the money they have. That doesn’t necessarily make them a bad person, but it can be dangerous.

QUALITY: There isn’t much I can say here…. To be completely honest, I don’t really like Steinbeck. But I never really like to criticize on the quality of classics, because most of the time I’m just too immature or not learned enough to appreciate art. But personally, his writing tires me out a bit. I can keep reading, but I’m not excited, nothing really draws me in. I will say though that George was a surprise to me. His character development was spectacular. That transition, where Lennie is so kind and George is so cruel, but by the end it’s swapped, is really quite amazing.

OVERALL RATING: despite how much I may not enjoy Steinbeck, this was a pretty good book when looking at character development. It was artful to turn around the roles so smoothly. In fact, it didn’t really dawn on you till you had finished it. I was impressed with George. I was rather disappointed on him as a man at the beginning, he was selfish and constantly talked to Lennie how much better his life would be without him. He was lazy and did underhanded methods to avoid work. But slowly it was revealed that he was a WAY better man then expected…

I won’t give clear spoilers, but I will speak a little openly here, so if you don’t want ANY details given away, skip over this paragraph. I really admire him in the end, the choice he had to make was truly hard, but had to be done. And he didn’t even hesitate. He had a dream, he had a friend. Perhaps it could have happened, perhaps not, either way, George made a choice, and it was a choice that was not easy for him. I really admire him for that.

OTHER: This doesn’t really need to be said… but sometimes people just irk me. I was reading reviews for this book to get an idea on it, and I found one that gave it a three star review. He began it with something like “I don’t like this book because the title makes no sense. Are there any mice in there? No..” (I am paraphrasing of course, but that’s pretty much what he said…) When I read that I thought no way, he’s playing around. But as I continued, he wouldn’t stop going on and on about it, bringing up other books with names that made no sense. Books like To Kill a Mockingbird!! I swear I lost it there, I mean come on, you honestly think the title To Kill a Mockingbird means nothing to the story? Too bad sucker you’re and idiot. Same with Of Mice and Men. If that fool was smart enough to use the internet, he would have learned a thing or two. Here is what it says.. “The title of Steinbeck’s novel comes from the poem ‘To a Mouse’, by the Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759–96). It is addressed to a mouse that builds its winter nest in a wheat field, only to see it destroyed by a ploughman. Burns wrote his poem in Scots dialect.” Perfect… Crooks spoke that he saw so many dreams spoken but lost, never had he seen anyone fulfill their dreams… So there you have it, of mice and men. Sorry, I’m done, I just can’t stand it when people belittle a book with literally no knowledge and right to criticize…

This is a good book…. It’s so short too so even if I’m not necessarily jumping on it and yelling at you to read it, you can read it real quick and decide yourself. Just be prepared, it is sad, and it is dark, but very insightful…..