22 May 2012

Review: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Published: 1936

Pages: 112 (paperback)

Genre/s: Classics

Source: Own library

Check it Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository


The tragic story of the complex bond between two migrant laborers in Central California. They are George Milton and Lennie Small, itinerant ranch hands who dream of one day owning a small farm. George acts as a father figure to Lennie, who is a very large, simple-minded man, calming him and helping to rein in his immense physical strength.

My Thoughts

I debated about whether to write a review of Of Mice and Men here on the blog. After all, it's been reviewed and dissected about 7 gajillion times, right? But then I got to thinking - if I hadn't read it because I was a little scared of reading Steinbeck, maybe others feel the same?

Required reading wasn't big in Australian schools when I was a teenager, and if there was a required reading it was almost always an Australian author (Nevil Shute for example), so it's a slightly sad state of affairs that I was 30 years old before I read my first Steinbeck. I'm not a fan of 'classics' as it goes - I always thought if I read one I'd have to say lots of really meaningful, intellectual-type things about it. So I'm just going to say exactly what I thought - no delving into themes, discussions or dissections.

Of Mice and Men evokes perfectly the era, the characters and the lives of roving farm workers - the writing is lyrical yet simplistic and the dialogue is liberally peppered with accent, which makes it all the more realistic.

The story itself is short and simple in the telling - two friends bound by circumstance and loyalty, in a situation that is never going to end well. George is a down-to-earth kinda guy, and empathizing with Lennie is easy - after all, a gentle giant would never hurt anyone, right?

There's nothing to be scared about here - it's a simple, quick story that's rich with atmosphere and characterisation. My only criticism is that it is a little too short - I wanted more!


  1. Oh Kat, 4.5 stars? I remember giving it 12 out of 10 at school. That was just after we trounced Napoleon at Waterloo.

  2. Of Mice and Men is one of my favourite classics, as well as one of the few required reading books I actually really liked! It's definitely one that I hope to re-read in the future, I just need to find a copy that isn't too small (font and size of paperback) or expensive...

    I'd definitely recommend this for people who aren't big on classics. It's short and not intimidating to read at all! (That's probably why we were given this at Year 8/9)

    1. I think for me it was a great place to start - now I'm ready for War and Peace. Erm, maybe....

  3. Every day another person is born who might never stumble across a book because it's considered a "classic" and or outdated. So in that regard I think it's great you chose to go through reviewing this.

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed that novella many years ago. It is definitely worth reviewing, and I think your assessment is right on.

  5. Of Mice and Men is one of my (many) favorites. I'm not big on classics myself, but there was always something about this one.

  6. I'm glad I went through with reviewing this. If if it encourages just one person to try something outside their comfort zone, then I'm happy :)



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