As a ten-year-old, I had no business reading “The Grapes of Wrath,” but my Aunt Norma thought I should discover more than Mark Twain. Her foresight gave me a vision beyond my years.
I learned to read between six and seven. I started school later because my birthday fell beyond the cut-off date. So my Mother and aunt ensured I would be ahead of my class when I entered first grade. I was at least two stages ahead in reading and writing but woefully ignorant of math, my most hated subject. Fun With Dick and Jane were books written for childish idiots. I yearned for more. My young brain was afire.
I’ve read all of John Steinbeck’s books except for ” East of Eden,” which I have almost completed. It’s supposedly autobiographical about his family, the Hamiltons, who were farmers outside of Salinas, California. There was a movie of the book made in the 1950s starring James Dean. It was a disastrous attempt, and Steinbeck deplored the film. I could hardly watch it.
I am a rabid reader and follower of Larry McMurtry, Truman Capote, William Faulkner, and Thomas Wolfe, but good Lord, this book, this blessed and talented man, John Steinbeck, may have written the best novel I have read to date. Its time is old and takes place in the late 1800s into the first world war, and if you know nothing of history, this book will teach you enough to not sound stupid at a cocktail party, which is now called a wine tasting or some other hip gathering. Most young folks nowadays don’t read, so you may be considered a god or a fumbling old fool. The young are not impressed easily.
If you have time, a rainy day brings boredom, or you may simply want to improve your life, read this book and learn from a master of American literature.