Book Review of
The Grapes of Wrath
First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of American Classics.
My husband and I read The Grapes of Wrath for a family book club. Since it was just the two of us though, it ended up being more of a buddy read. Since it was published in 1938, it made a great book for my backlist book challenge.
Neither of us had read this classic book. I grew up in Oregon, so I was not surprised that this wasn’t required reading. But my husband grew up in Oklahoma, so I was very surprised when I learned that he had never read it.
Since neither of us had read it, we decided it would make a great book to read together. And by together, I mean we both had our own copy and would read a few chapters and then discuss them together as we had time.
My husband and I had totally different opinions of The Grapes of Wrath. I can see why it is a classic, but I did not like it at all. My husband really enjoyed it and was so glad that he read it. We both have strong opinions on why we did and didn’t like it that I will share soon.