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Of Mice and Men

4.4 out of 5 stars 2,331 customer reviews

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A controversial tale of friendship and tragedy during the Great Depression
 
They are an unlikely pair: George is "small and quick and dark of face"; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a "family," clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.

Laborers in California's dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie's unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.

"A thriller, a gripping tale . . . that you will not set down until it is finished. Steinbeck has touched the quick." —The New York Times

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A thriller, a gripping tale that you will not set down until it is finished. Steinbeck has touched the quick The New York Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Information

Size:Glossy Exclusive Paper
Product Dimensions 4.2 x 0.3 x 7.5 inches
Item Weight 2.1 ounces
Shipping Weight 2.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Manufacturer Penguin Books
Language English
ASIN 0140177396
Customer Reviews
4.4 out of 5 stars 2,331 customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #53 in Home and Kitchen (See Top 100 in Home and Kitchen)
#12 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Contemporary
#19 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Classics
#62 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Literary

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By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAME on November 3, 2001
Format: School & Library Binding
John Steinbeck wrote this classic gem in 1937. It's been a Broadway play and there have been several adaptations of it in movies and TV. I was generally familiar with the story but this was the first time I actually read the book. Wow! I was completely blown away! This is the story of a two lonely and alienated men who work as farm laborers, drifting from job to job in California. Lennie is gentle giant, physically strong but mentally retarded. George guides and protects Lennie but also depends on him for companionship. Together, they have a dream to someday buy a little farm where they can grow crops and raise rabbits and live happily ever after. This, of course, is not to be as the title suggests. "The best laid plans of mice and men" is a line in a poem by Robert Burns, which describes how a field mouse's world is destroyed by a plow.
Steinbeck's narrative voice is seemingly simple in his descriptions of nature of as well as the details of the bunkhouse. His characterizations of the people are magnificent. We meet the other workers, all loners, and appreciate the beauty of the unique friendship between Lennie and George. We meet Candy, the old man who is outliving his usefulness. We meet Crooks, the black stable hand, shunned by the men and therefore turning to books for companionship. We meet the cruel Curley who taunts Lennie into a fight. And we meet Curley's wife, another lonely soul who uses her femininity to get the wrong kind of attention.
There's tension in every word and I found myself holding my breath, knowing that something awful would happen, my eyes glued to the page, the world of Lennie and George deeply etched into my consciousness. I was pulled right into the story, wanting to shout warnings as I saw the inevitable consequences.
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"Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck remains properly on the reading lists of high school students because of the regional imagery through succinct dialogue. Unlike "Grapes of Wrath," Steinbeck brings us swiftly into each moment, never letting us linger too long before walking us to the next place.

The American Dream has many variations, but always, it is about independence and the pride of being one's own man. Lennie and George want this independence more than most men, but have less than most men to get there. In their case, it isn't a white picket fence, but a farm where they can raise rabbits.

Lennie is not a bright man. He desires to care for someone and to be loved, but is unable to think past his own fear. George tries to protect him, but he too, although smarter than Lennie, is managed by his insecurity and foolishness.

The story surrounds Lennie and George's efforts to get and retain work on ranch near Soledad, and more so, toward their American Dream. The big picture is always with them, but it is the day-by-day difficulties they have with being outsiders. Their intrinsic inability to be free is sheer tragedy, as they both fail again and again to make the right decision.

It's a lonely story about two men who hope more than they can think, who are destined by their misery never to enjoy true companionship and happiness.

Few books are as thematically pure as "Of Mice and Men," which follows Man's search for self and meaning carefully. It is harsh in language and image, and the abstract ideas might be too much for younger readers to comprehend, but any intelligent teen will gain from it where John Knowles' "A Separate Peace" and J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" leave off.

I fully recommend "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck.

Anthony Trendl
editor, HungarianBookstore.com
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I am a tenth grade student and I recently read "Of Mice and Men" for a school project. I thought it was an excellent book. I felt that the author, John Steinbeck, did a first class job with this novel. It portrayed the relationship between George and Lennie in a way that made you become very attached to the characters. You wanted to read more to find out if they ever accomplished their goals and to see if their dreams became a reality. George and Lennie are complete opposites; George is a small, quick intelligent man, while Lennie is a man of huge dimensions but has the brain of a child. Throughout the story Lennie acts in ways that infuriate George, but George will always be there for his friend because he knows Lennie needs him to survive. Lennie can buck barley like no one else because of his pure strength, but would probably starve to death if he didn't have George to provide his daily meals. I think that has to do with why this book has been banned in the past by schools across the country. Some people may be offended by how the mentally challenged person is shown in this story. It seems as though the view being expressed is that people with mental problems can't do anything for themselves. They are also a constant threat to others because they cannot control themselves. Lennie didn't realize what he was doing was wrong until it had gone too far. These are stereotypes of mentally retarded people that some people may believe are reinforced by this novel. They are lead to believe that this book is discriminatory towards the mentally challenged. Parents whom believed this did not want their children reading this book because they did not want them to be exposed to these types of ideas. Also, Curly's wife does not fit the traditional mould.Read more ›
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