[Review] Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Publisher and Publication Date: Penguin Books. 1993. First published in 1937.
Genre: Fiction. American literature. Classic literature.
Pages: 112 printed pages.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Library.
Audience: Readers of young adult through adult. Readers of American literature.
Rating: Excellent.

Link for the book @ Amazon.

Further links on John Steinbeck.

  1. The 15 Best John Steinbeck Books Everyone Should Read, from Reedsy Discovery.
  2. The Steinbeck Institute.
  3. Nobel Prize.
  4. Book Analysis. This site is heavy with pop-ups and ads.


The time period is the Great Depression, the 1930s.

Two men are traveling together to work at a new job as laborers on a farm. They are in California, on the valley side of the Salinas River.

The men are George and Lennie. George is a small man. Lennie is a large man.

They stop beside a green pool to take a drink. They are hot from the walk. They’d rode a bus to a certain point and must walk the rest of the way.

While beside the green pool they have a conversation that they have had other times. So many times, George is tired of it.

George reminds Lennie often of staying quiet at the jobs. Don’t say anything. Stay out of trouble. If he gets in trouble, George will find Lennie.

Trouble seems to find Lennie.

It is never fully explained, but Lennie has an intellectual disability (I think.) George, at some point in the past, became a caregiver of Lennie. This caregiving role is stressful.

George feels responsible for Lennie. He looks after him.

At the new job, trouble erupts.

My Thoughts:

I first read Of Mice and Men in the 10th grade. When I began reading it yesterday, I remembered a little about the storyline.

It is a novella. A short story. A sad story. A story that makes an impact. It is a story that I had to remind myself that these people don’t think like me, and they don’t live in the society and culture I live in. For example, animal abuse is never okay. To abuse another person because of their skin tone or intellectual ability or income level is never okay.

And a big question that is gnawing at me. What can be done in response to a person (the daughter-in-law of the boss) who is sexually suggestive, lonely, and will not stop bothering the working men in the bunkhouse? My first thought is “Run Forest, Run!” However, these men need the job. They need to work. The situation is precarious.

As an adult, I understand so much more about this story. I picked up on things (aha moments.) For example, Curley is the adult son of the boss of the farm. However, throughout the story his main task is looking for his wife. He walks into the bunkhouse, “have you seen my wife?” The situation is pitiful. Is his wife bored? Lonely? Does she have unmet needs or expectations? Why did she marry Curley? Doesn’t she have farm wife things to do? Taking care of a farm is hard work. Being a farm wife is hard work.

Another question I have: George knows Lennie is strong and can hurt someone or kill them. Why did he command Lennie to respond with violence? Did George regret this action? Is this why the book ended as it did?

Lennie at some point, knows good from bad. What is going on with him that he knows the bad only after it happens?

Of Mice and Men is a book that encourages discussion. But as a kid, I don’t remember conversation in class about the story except from the teacher.

I love, love, love, the setting of scenes which includes more than just descriptions for the reader’s sake, it is the setting of the tone and mood or a pulling away from the dire situation to a place of calmness (for example pages 92-93.) Steinbeck’s descriptions, even of a barn is brilliant.

It is a story with strong inward and outward conflicts.

Some themes in the story: dreams, self-control, grief, justice, injustice, hope, tolerance, deception, shame, sacrifice, suffering, and judgment.


[Review] Marmee by Sarah Miller

Publisher and Publication Date: William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. 2022.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 423.
Format: Hardcover.
Source: Library.
Audience: Historical fiction readers. Those who love the story, Little Women.
Rating: Very good.

Sarah Miller’s Goodreads author page/website/ Instagram/ Facebook/ Twitter.

Link @ Amazon.


The character, Marmee, is the mother in Little Women. This book holds her story, and from her own voice.

Marmee is written in a chronological journal entry format. The first entry is December 24, 1861. The last entry is December 25, 1868. Some of the entries are brief and others are a few pages.

Some themes in the story: marriage, relationships between mother and daughter, war, poverty, 19th century culture and society, maternal health, dying and death, peace, suffering, injustice, dreams, grief, charity, hope, sacrifice, family, honor, and heroism.

The story has internal and external conflicts. The war is a huge external conflict, but so is sickness and suffering. Poverty is an external conflict. Internal conflicts are anguish and sadness and fear over a loved one who is at war. Other internal conflicts are dealing with grief and civilian life in general during a time of war.

My Thoughts:

Most, if not all, of my readers are acquainted with the story of Little Women. If you have not read the story, then you have seen one of the film adaptions.

If not:

The story of Little Women is about the March sisters who live in Concord, Massachusetts during the Civil War. Their names are Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. Their parents are Amos and Margaret (Marmee.)

Their close neighbors are Laurie and his grandfather, Mr. Laurence.

In Little Women, the focus is on the March sisters, primarily Jo. In Marmee, the focus is her voice, feelings, and opinions. I see the family through her eyes.

What I love about Marmee:

  1. I love the shift from the original story, and in seeing the family through Marmee‘s point of view. It is a fresh perspective, and this leaves me with the feeling of reading the story anew.
  2. Marmee is a strong character. She is a dimensional character. I see positive and negative traits. The strongest character traits she has are compassion and determination. When she sees someone in need, she cannot help but give her all to them.
  3. The Civil War is talked about more often than in Little Women. The fear and anguish that effects the community when a soldier is missing, sick, imprisoned, or dead. They read in the newspaper or through conversations about the battles that take place. Most of the men are gone to war. The women care for family and home. The women are left with trying to feed the family and this is difficult.
  4. Marmee is an educated person. She went further in school than most women of this era. However, she cannot earn a living to financially support the family. In the society and culture of this era, the women were limited in options of securing an income. She wrestles with this problem. She is angry.
  5. The story begins and ends with grief. This is unusual in a historical fiction book. The end is a solid and satisfying closure because Marmee looks to the things she is grateful for. However, there is a pronounced and palpable grief. This is another strength in her character: the ability to give grace and receive grace.
  6. My blogger friend, Becky @ Becky’s Book Reviews, remarked on Jo: Is Jo a person who would now be in the LBGTQ community. She has no idea and neither do I. I did not see that the author brought Marmee to that conclusion either.
    What I see is a young woman who has a huge dream of becoming a writer. Jo is a brilliant and intelligent and very much an individual type of person. The dream is so pronounced that everything else is a distant second until after there is a death in her family. It is possible that after this death her thoughts on relationships regarding marriage changed.
    Most of the women I know personally were very focused on dating and romantic relationships as teenagers and young women. This includes me. As a result, many of us married young and did not pursue or finish college that led to a strong career and independence. I know a few women who dated, but their complete focus was finishing college or graduate school and creating a career. Later, these women thought about and invested in romantic serious relationships. I believe some of this has to do with a person’s character, how she feels about self, socio-economic choices (to a degree), and their friend’s influences.
    Marmee did see some of her personality in Jo. It is an interesting and sober thing when as a parent we see certain traits in our children that we too have.
  7. I feel that each character in the story is spot on as in the original story. Marmee goes deeper and wider.
  8. I love the substories of the various women from all walks of life. This is probably one of the most wonderful points of the story. There is a woman who had breast cancer. There is a woman who is a widow with several children to care for. There are women who grieve the deaths of husbands and sons who were in the war. All the substories give Marmee a bigger story outside the March home that is not in Little Women.
  9. The story is strong in dialogue and not a strong descriptive story about the setting, etc. I remark on this because some authors are strong in painting the scenery or environment for readers.

[Review] The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Publisher and Publication Date: Original publisher and date is George M. Hill and Company in 1900. My edition is Kindle E-Book. The Kindle copy is no longer available as I purchased it at Amazon a while back. Other e-book editions are available.
Genre: Children’s fiction and fantasy.
Pages: 137.
Format: E-Book.
Source: Self purchase from Amazon.
Audience: Readers of Children’s stories.
Rating: Very good.

Link for an E-Book edition @ Amazon.

I believe there are a total of 14 in the series.


The film with Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale was released in 1939. It is titled The Wizard of Oz.

The film is so ingrained in my mind it is hard to imagine reading the story without picturing Judy Garland as Dorothy. While reading, I quickly picked up on differences in the film and book.

Most know the story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. But for those who do not know. Dorothy is in her farmhouse where she lives with an aunt and uncle when it is picked up by a tornado and set down on top of a witch in a new land far from her Kansas home. Her aunt and uncle did not travel with her. She wants to go home despite being in this bright and vibrant colored land. If you remember in the film, it is drab gray everywhere until she opens the door to this new Technicolor land.

She is told to travel a long journey to see Oz and he will help. Along the way she meets kindred folk: Scarecrow, Tinman, and the Lion. Each of them has a reason to see the great and wonderful Oz.

Oz wants help before he gives help to Dorothy and her travel partners. So, they embark on a new journey. They meet the terrible Wicked Witch of the West!

I almost forgot her dear friend and constant companion, her little dog Toto.

My Thoughts:

The film, The Wizard of Oz, is such a wonderful, beautiful, and endearing memory for me. Because I picture mother sitting beside me while watching it. I remember the different ages I have been while watching it. I remember watching it with my own children and grandchildren. The Wizard of Oz is a treasure in film. It is remarkable for its era. I could go on and on.

The book is memorable and remarkable because of its unique legacy in story. Remember it was published in 1900. What an imagination Baum had. I remember a Victorian fantasy story which was written by George MacDonald, Phantastes. I do not think there were many others like it.

So often films are not better than the book. In this case, I believe the film enhanced the book and complimented it. It certainly gave it a timeless quality.

For the book, I knew what to expect. It was fun to spot the differences. I will not share in review those differences but let the readers find them.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a splendid story of moral teaching, adventure, friendship, and endurance.

It has internal and external conflicts.

It has memorable and fascinating characters.

The book I have rated very good. I rate the film excellent.

Unfortunately, there is a popup ad right on the screen.