Thursday, December 23, 2010

BTT- Life-Changing

Which Book Changed Your Life?

Hm. My gut reaction to this one is, “No one book changed my life. Books in general changed my life.” But in an attempt to get in the spirit of the question, I am going with Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck. (I could also say The Outsiders, but I’ve already written about that.)

We read it in the 8th grade and it is the first book that I recall where I could see the message and it made me really think. You might remember:

In a scientific sense, humans are pack animals. Social creatures that need companionship and sometimes validation from other humans. George knew that, even if Lenny was the only person’s company that he could stand (or could stand him) for very long.

In a spiritual sense, people need something to work for. Something to hope for, something to look forward to. A reason not to blow every paycheck on booze.

I don’t guess it counts as a SPOILER since the book is over 50 years old. But in the end, it is not Lenny’s fate that is so tragic. I understood, even at 13, that Lenny had a rather happy life. George gave him that. George’s choice – to end Lenny’s totally inevitable suffering before it really even started – was heartbreaking. In the end, it is George’s fate that makes us anxious.

If George is not one of two, then who is he? Is he still working for a farm of his own? Will he ever really stay in one place? But most importantly, will he ever again make that kind of connection with another human being?

Of Mice and Men was when I learned that classics are classics for a reason.

6 comments:

Gigi Ann said...

Oh yes those classic are always a good choice for reading. I just recently read for the first time, "To Kill A Mockingbird" I found it a very enjoyable read, even though it is celebrating it's 50th anniversary this year as well. I have never read Of Mice and Men. I think I will have to make a trip to the library and check this one out.

jlshall said...

It's been a long time since I read Of Mice and Men, but I do remember that it's a very powerful story. Steinbeck is one of my favorite writers - loved The Grapes of Wrath.

Anne said...

Oooh. My mother is still annoyed that I never had to read Mockingbird in school. I didn't open it until I was 30. Then I was annoyed, too.

I like Steinbeck because his style is very plain English and somehow very American. Grapes of Wrath was not an easy read, but it is another where you can see why it is a classic.

gautami tripathy said...

Steinbeck is a great writer. And his books teach us so much!

Here is my BTT: Life-changing post!

Pam said...

Oh I LOVE Stienbeck! I actuially could easily have put that my most lifechanging book was East of Eden but I went in a DIFFERENt existential direction. ;O0

Tribute Books Mama said...

Which book changed your life?

I would have to say the Harry Potter and Twilight series because they sparked so many conversations with people I know well and people I just met. It's also fun talking with people about the different aspects between the books and the movies.