Reviewed by Meygan Cox
Sometimes there is no feeling in the world like reading a good piece of classic literature. Of Mice and Men is a book that has been sitting on my shelf just waiting to be explored for oh, at least a couple of years. Needing a break from what I refer to as “junk food novels”, I decided to read Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and I am so glad that I did!
George and Lennie are two good ol’ country boys, chasing the American dream of making enough money to live a comfortable life. They’ll have their own farm and be their own bosses. Lennie, who loves soft things, will have rabbits to tend. George has promised Lennie’s aunt that he will take care of him, which is a full time job. Lennie, an enormous and robust man, has the mind of a child. George, who happens to be on the short and lean side, is the one who finds work for them and takes the responsibility for keeping Lennie out of trouble. When George and Lennie travel south, they come across a small town and find a job working on a farm. The boss’s son, Curley, is both jealous and aggressive. There are several other men working there, all who are damaged in some way.
George admits to one of the men that they had to leave their previous “home” because of Lennie. Lennie, not able to recognize his own strength, ripped a girl’s dress because he wanted to feel the material. When the girl claims that Lennie raped her, George and Lennie are forced to run. But George assures him that won’t happen again. Besides, if Lennie gets into any more trouble then he won’t get to tend to the rabbits that George keeps promising him. On the farm, George and Lennie meet Curley’s wife, who is always lurking and finding men who are alone (or, rather, any man who is not her husband). This is a situation ripe for trouble.
I know this is probably my shortest review yet, but the novella is only 105-110 pages. For the book to be so short and straight to the point, there are many stories within the story. For example, readers will learn about an African American character and how he is treated during the Great Depression. For the fear of giving away any spoilers, I will just say that readers will also learn about several characters’ personalities.
Even though I had seen the movie Of Mice and Men and I knew the outcome, the ending to the book made the story seem so much deeper and powerful. Make sure to read Of Mice and Men if you are looking for a good piece of classic literature that doesn’t require more than a couple of nights worth of reading!