The utter ignorant unread fool that I am, I have no idea how many more times I will have to confess that this is my first book from the acclaimed such and such writer(s) that I’ve been planning to read for last so many months and years. Thanks to my good friend who actually sent me the little book of magic that I finished in a single sitting to my own shock and amazement and it made me all emotional, happy, teary eyed with a huge lump in the throat thinking of the lead characters, shaking the head in the ending and glad that Steinbeck (the heavier the name) totally worked wonders for me. I don’t know why but every-time I attended a book club meet in our town and as soon as someone asks “What are you reading?” and someone else will say proudly “I am reading a Steinbeck”, everybody else who will hear the response will go all “Awww Awww and more Awww’s” and it will make me think, when am I going to get those “Awww’s”, so guys, time has come for me to proudly declare that I have crossed the hurdle and I have read my first Steinbeck, let the “Awww’s” come my way please. You see we all love some motivation at the end of the day and I need more before I pick up a “Sigmund Freud” now that name I guess sounds so much full of more “Awww’s”, although again as my luck runs hard, I haven’t read any of his works too (Yet). But this was the easiest and I guess the simplest yet the most meaningful books of the year for sure, although a lot has to be read this year but I am sure none of the books will take that away from this one. Its that beautiful. If you have read this or any of his other works, I am sure you will agree with me on that.
Now the problem with a heavyweight name is that these days when they publish their books, they always include an Introduction and Foreword by some big shot, not only giving away the whole plot, spoilers, they even force on us lesser mortals their own opinion of not only the writer but their works too. Now this book in question is hardly 115 pages long with an Introduction lasting almost 30 pages, can you believe that? After reading the first 15-16 pages, I realized the mistake I was doing and I totally ignored it all and straight dived to the original story and now I thank God for giving me that sane thought right on time. So, if you plan to read this, ignore it all like a plague, don’t even read the blurb or any reviews, just get the book and read it. You will not be able to put it down for one moment before you finish it in its entirety. Story is set during the time of great depression (early 30’s) about two friends George Milton and Lennie Small (nomads) who move from town to town in search of work and live a hand to mouth life depending on their good for nothing hardcore labor income. All they dream of is a little piece of land of their own, where they may have a pig and a cow, couple of goats and hen with a few rabbits who Lennie would love to pat on their heads throughout the day with pigeons flying over their windmill now and then. Such a simple dream yet quite a bigger one because they need a big amount of money to go about it, how and what they do or what happens in the due course of time is the rest of the heart touching story.
I have never read a better or more beautiful story of two friends ever before this one and I guess no one will come ever close to this one for sure in future too. The way George takes care of his friend Lennie Small (who happens to be huge but mentally challenged). The best part is the way he keeps telling Lennie’s dream to him in his own words as Lennie can’t just remember anything beyond a day but remembers only what George says :). How beautiful was that, I was so mesmerized by the way he repeats the story for him so many times, yet I kept asking just one more time for him to tell it all again as it all looks so easy to achieve yet an impossible dream for them. And what a brilliant brilliant ending and for that Mr. Steinbeck, you my man, Take a bow!
If you have read Stephen King’s “The Green Mile” and you remember the character of John Coffee (the death-row inmate), I can vouch that King has taken the inspiration from Steinbeck’s character Lennie Small and as a dedication he called him “John Coffee” first name taken from John Steinbeck, Although I haven’t Googled it yet but I am dead sure about that. If you have read both the books, do tell me that you too felt the same, it just can’t be any other character but Lennie that King made into Coffee. I wish I could ask Mr. King and get an answer :).
If you have read “Of Mice and Men” do let me know how you like it and if you haven’t (just like me), Boss, you just can’t miss it anymore. And if you like or love Mr. Steinbeck the way I do now, do let me know which one is your personal favorite from him and I would love to read it ASAP.