Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Grapes of Wrath

I finally read Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, a book that has been on my shelf at home for years & years. It is clear to see why it is considered such an accomplishment. The story is known, even if vaguely, by people who have not even read the book. The narrative follows the Joad family and their horrible circumstances as they migrant from Oklahoma to California.

The Grapes of Wrath was the selection my book club read last month. We had one of the largest turnouts we have had for at least a year. One man came for the first time and simply stated he came, because the book has remained his favorite throughout his life. At least one member, however, was not a fan and found Steinbeck's writing and characteristics of women difficult to live with.

It was interesting to take part in a conversation of what can be called the "California dream," which, I believe, is much different from the "American dream." As the Joad family imagined California, so did many in the group before coming here. Typical to California, I think only one person at the meeting was born here. For my husband and I, California was very much a fantasy world before our arrival. Others commented it had been the same for them.

The Grapes of Wrath is sad and sometimes disturbing, but a social justice classic I am glad I finally read.


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