John Steinbeck and His Eden

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.

8 Replies to “John Steinbeck and His Eden”

    1. The movie strayed from the book is many directions. The book itself is as thick as the Bible so it’s understandable some parts had to be left out. I don’t think he cared for James Dean at the time.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. No I didn’t, and had no idea there was a remake. I did suffer through the original starring James Dean. It was nothing like the book and that is why Steinbeck threw a hissy fit. James Dean was not the guy for the part and the producers tried to make the movie hip and cool to accommodate him. What happened to the Bottoms brothers? They were hot as bacon for a while, then puff.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah. All four of them. Timothy, which I share a birthday with, was the most active, then Joseph, then Sam. Ben was only in, like, nine things, spanning from 1976 to 1999. Joseph was in The Black Hole & Sam, Apocalypse Now. Timothy is active all the way up to 2020.

        I suspect Hollyweird wears on people’s souls.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I haven’t read any books since spending several weeks last summer reading Les Misérables in the original French (just short of 1,500 pages in small print).

    However, I’m not twiddling my thumbs. I am writing a sci-fi novel in my limited spare time, and also working on creating an Old Timers Song Factory website with my songwriting partner. Still, I should find a few minutes every day to read a work of fiction. The only story I’ve read by Steinbeck is “Of Mice and Men,” way back in high school.


    1. Good Lord, in French, yet? I haven’t read the book, but it is on my list, and my list is a long one. Folks don’t realize that most of today’s authors write schlock and they learn nothing. Re-visit Steinbeck if you can, he may be America’s greatest author. Won the Nobel Prize, so he is no word salad guy.

      Liked by 2 people

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