If you would like to taste the dust and despair of the Depression, this book delivers. The format of the book alternates chapters detailing the travels of the Joad family from Oklahoma to California during the Great Depression with chapters of description that detail vignettes of the times: the abandoned farms, the Hoovervilles, the truck stops on Highway 66, and so forth.
The first 150 pages were a chore to wade through, but by the mid-point of the book I had been (surprisingly) drawn into caring for the family. I especially began to feel for the Joad matriarch as she desperately attempts to hold her family together in a world that is disintegrating around her. Drawn in, I wanted to know what would happen to the Joads, but knowing John Steinbeck, I was almost afraid to find out. It ended a bit abruptly and more than a bit bizarrely.
This book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1940 and is considered an American classic. Is it a worthwhile read? There are definitely moments of literary brilliance so I am torn.
Due to the unrelenting profanity in this book and some sexual references, I can’t give this a clean read recommendation. The characters are constantly using profanity, crude language, and religious profanities. It isn’t the profanity you find at the local high school because it was a different era when this book was written, but it is plentiful in the characters’ dialogue.
The sexual content is primarily in the first half of the book and is usually characters dialoging about their sexual promiscuity. There are several conversations of such a nature.
There is a scene detailing some dogs breeding with character commentary. Violence involves references to fights, murder, beatings, a fire, but the descriptions are not overly graphic. The most graphic violence is an accidental shooting of a woman’s hand and a man beat with a pick axe.
Mature Subject Matter:
Mature themes…where do I begin? This is about the Great Depression
Alcohol / Drug Use: