The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This is book #12 from The Ameri Brit Mom 24 Book Challenge in 2016. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, or outside influences.
Title: Of Mice and Men
Author: John Steinbeck
Publisher: Penguin Books
Copyright Date: 1937
This classic is one I could write on for days. There are so many lessons, symbols, ironies, and historical meanings behind this short book. As a teacher, I’ve enjoyed teaching this novel for the first time as it has opened up avenues of discussion and research that have not been present in my curriculum in the past. I’m sure in part because it is a bit vulgar at times, this book has captured the attention of my ninth grade students and tugged at their heart strings. In a world where getting teens to engage with literature is increasingly difficult this book has done that very thing. At the conclusion of our reading my students wanted to spend days talking about the lessons and implications. Even my reluctant readers drew connections to characters and instances of this book. Hands down this has been my favorite classic to teach (which is saying something because I used to teach my favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird.)
In the book’s outset George Milton and Lennie Small are traveling along the Salinas River en route to a new job just outside of Soledad, California. The migrant workers own little as was par for the course in that time period. Their most valued possession was each other. Misfortune and a series of confrontations led George and Lennie to a life on the run. In a world that is plagued with debt, depression, and lonliness, however, these two men have the gift of companionship.
Throughout the course of the novel George and Lennie begin working on a new ranch and meet other workers in similar positions. George is the most intelligent member of the pair. He is small and feisty, but can talk his way out of most trouble that he encounters. Lennie is a large man who lacks intellect and has a fascination with soft things. Together these men compensate for one another’s weaknesses and form a bond that was uncommon for men of their occupation.
In the end the strength of their friendship is tested and one could argue that heroism plays a role in the conclusion.
So much could be said of the moral and historical implications of this novella. Steinbeck has spoken to the heart of relationships and the longing each one of us has to protect those dearest to us. It is no wonder to me why this book has become a required read in many high schools across the nation. It is a book that one must simply experience. To meet Lennie and George and be introduced to the kind of relationship they have formed is to witness the bounds of true brotherly love.
The Ameri Brit Mom