The Grapes of Wrath over 21 Years – #10

grapes of wrathOn this last day of 2012 I thought I should finally post my review of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Or, more accurately, Andi is making me post my review because I should have done it weeks ago!

When I first saw The Grapes of Wrath on the list, I remembered that I had read it in either high school or college. I also remembered the general gist of the story line – that it follows a family as they make their way from Oklahoma to the promised land of California during the Great Depression. I also indelibly remembered the haunting but hopeful last scene with Rose Of Sharon. And really, the fact that I remembered one scene in stark detail from a book I read at least twenty years ago is a testimony to the author’s enduring and powerful narrative throughout the book.

Generally, my thoughts while reading through the book fall into one of these themes throughout the tome:

  • I appreciate the ability to save, eliminate all debt and stay financially solvent.
  • I appreciate my grandparents and everyone who lived through the Great Depression. Cloth napkins, saving used wrapping paper, washing and re-using plastic forks? Go ahead – I understand it now.
  • I appreciate my children and the relatively easy and safe way they came into the world.
  • I appreciate being able to work doing something I love in a supportive environment.
  • I appreciate the hard life of a turtle (OK, that one’s just a nod to the first 50 pages of the novel).

As a related side note, this week I did a major post-Christmas clean out of our home, and unearthed a box of old photo albums and diaries in the process. I read the ones from my junior and senior years of college (1991-1992). Now those are some page-turners, but I’ll save that for a future post! (No, not really.)

Suffice it to say that as I was paging through them, I read an entry of how I was tired of going out every Saturday night, so I had my crowd go on without me and sat down to read The Grapes of Wrath, which I should’ve done earlier in the week. (I see a trend here.) I even underlined the title in my diary, as every good English major would do. So I can unequivocally say that I last read The Grapes of Wrath in April of 1991!

On a less related side note, I also rediscovered through my diary entries that I saw the stage production of Les Miserables, my fave, every year for 3 out of my 4 college years in various locales. Noteworthy only because the last one, save for one about 10 years ago, was detailed in that same 1991 diary and I just saw the movie version this weekend. It was interesting to have two literary parallels this week, 21 years apart.

So onto 2013 – join us tomorrow as we fire up the Kindles and/or crack the spine of Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry.

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