EAST OF EDEN by JOHN STEINBECK
This will hardly be a roast, because John Steinbeck has officially achieved “My Man” status with this book. I sincerely loved every part of it. This book follows the lives of three generations. After falling so in love with the characters of the first generation, I was sure I wouldn’t enjoy the second or third generations as much. I was wrong –I loved them all like they were my own family. This made for a book that was sprawling and expansive, but was enjoyable the whole way through. I won’t demean it with a plot summary. Instead, I’ll just highlight the best and worst parts of it.
What I loved about this book:
The fact that Steinbeck can describe something so thoroughly and vividly in just a few, well worded paragraphs. I felt like I was in the Salinas Valley during the war as I read through the descriptions scattered at the beginning of the chapters throughout the book. The breaks from the plot line were succinct and interesting enough that you didn’t mind that they interrupted the storyline. This talent extends to his characters as well –each character was so detailed and so fleshed out, but not just through descriptions –through dialogue, and actions. One of my biggest pet peeves is when an author simply tells you about a character instead of letting that character show you who they are (ahem, I’m looking at you Eleanor Catton ((still not over The Luminaries))).
The characters. Particularly Tom (Babe alert! Who doesn’t love the brooding artist type?), Dessie (Oh Dessie. I’m still weeping.) Lee (When Sheriff Quinn realized he decorated the house to be a home, my heart broke in the best way possible.), Abra (Girl.), and Cal (Ahhh, Cal, my heart aches for you). They’re flawed, and broken, and human, and wonderful. Full disclosure, I thought Aron was a total bitch, but I loved that too. You gotta hate someone, right? I was pretty glad when (SPOILER ALERT) Abra ditched him for his much dreamier brother.
The meandering storyline. I know a lot of people don’t love books that sort of wander their way from story to story, but I love it, and this book fulfilled that role perfectly in my opinion.
What I didn’t love about this book:
Every single time Lee cooked something delicious, my pregnant ass couldn’t rest until I ate something similar. Actually, I loved this about the book, too. I ate a lot of delicious food because of it.
So without gushing too much, this book has become one of my top ten favorites, and John Steinbeck has officially cemented himself as one of my favorite authors.
Read it! DO IT.