This is the first of hopefully 10 Turbo Book Reviews helping me resolve My Mid-Life Reading Crisis. And yes, John Steinbeck published The Grapes of Wrath in 1939, but just in case: Spoiler Alert.
It’s disturbing how relevant this book still is. Then and now, an all-but-total unfamiliarity of one class of people with another. It’s probably this simple: We’ll never figure this out.
But still: How can a writer leave people with a more hopeful message? A woman having just gone through the agony of a stillbirth giving her milk to a starving man. Might be the most powerful ending I’ve ever read.
And, damn Steinbeck could write:
The sun was down now, and the gentle blue evening was in the camp. To the east, the mountains were still yellow with sunlight.
The rain began with gusty showers, pauses and downpours; and then gradually it settled to a single tempo, small drops and a steady beat, rain that was gray to see through, rain that cut midday light to evening.
The inhabitants of the car came slowly to life, squirmed up out of the blankets, writhed into their clothes.
‘For anybody else, it was a mistake, but if you think it was a sin — then it’s a sin. A fella builds his own sins right up from the groun’.’ (Casy)
And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.
Our people are good people; our people are kind people. Pray God some day kind people won’t all be poor.