The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Depressing realism at its best!

The truth of the 1920s depression in America is seen through the harrowing plight of the Joad family who are dispossessed and forcibly evicted as tenants of their family farm. Forced to move because of the drought, they are lured to California with the promise of jobs, money and therefore the potential return of self respect.

If the journey itself was not painful, enough – and I include the reader here who feels their pain at every step – then the discovery that the jobs are few and the pay is criminally low is the cruellest blow. Driven by the desire to retain their humanity and self esteem, they continue to follow the elusive job promises and get caught up in the cruel political economical situation that sees crops burned as starving families look on bewildered.

Beautifully and poetically expressed, I fell madly in love with Steinbeck’s prose. His Dickensian omniscient narrator pops up with strident, polemic commentary and he make no apologies for this.

It was most definitely hard reading with a final gut wrenching scene that will leave you viscerally reeling – trust me. But I loved it.

Watch this space for more Steinbeck reviews…

Rating: 4.7/5

Why? Shocking and depressing – perhaps not the ideal summer beach read for most.

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