East of Eden – John Steinbeck

I don’t usually review books, well okay maybe just one or two when I’ve found them really readable. This book is so good I can’t understand why I haven’t already read it. Now I have, I think it’s one of the great works and the best of Steinbeck.
I read ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ last year and although I enjoyed it, it was a bit depressing. The setting and the era we’re pretty depressing also. The Grapes is generally known as the authors best work but for me, E of E is far superior. It also has its sad moments and its fun times too but it so well intermingles the lives of three families who come together in the Salinas Valley just after the turn of the 20th century.
Life is hard for them but there is an underlying feeling of optimism throughout the book. It’s not exactly a ‘feel good’ story but is quite uplifting at times. Maybe I was feeling particularly cheerful when I read it but it was a really interesting read. I like the way Steinbeck builds visible characters that stay with you throughout. From the military father who treats his two sons totally differently to the Irish decent father who sees the faults and the promise of each of his children.
For me, it was a very satisfying read.





Who are ‘They’?

They always say that, life is what you make it. Although I’ve never really been sure who ‘they’ are. Is it those people who talk about you behind your back, or those strange and obscure people who govern us and make the laws we have to live by? My dear, but sadly departed, mother always used to worry about what ‘they’ might think about her, her family, her house and her life. So I was raised worrying about what ‘they’ might think about me, although as a child I had less idea then who ‘they’ were than I have now. The years have passed and I still have no idea, although, I do know ‘they’ are still out there. Disapproving of everything I do.

Are ‘they’ ever happy?

It seems unlikely, as there must be a higher being designed to disapprove of everything ‘they’ do. It’s a bit of a vicious circle as we can never please ‘they’ or perhaps I should call them ‘them’ in that context but whoever you are, please get in touch so I can think about ways to make you happy and avoid people constantly telling me that  ‘they’ won’t like that.