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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2005
"Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck, possibly his most recognised novel, was published in 1939 and has delighted adults and school children alike right up to the present day. Proving popular in schools, it has been a novel on the GCSE exam board for years, the reason being that this novel has a lot of controversy and surprising depth.
George Milton, small and resourceful, and Lennie Small, large and simple-minded, are two men with an unlikely friendship. They arrive at a working ranch near the town of Soledad in the hope that their lives may move on since the events that forced them to flee their hometown of Weed. But trouble is never far behind. The friendship hangs in the balance and George must decide how long the pair can keep running.
School pupils who are reading this novel for GCSE should count themselves lucky. This is simply a fantastic novel.
Each page is rich in symbolism ad recurring themes of dreams and loneliness. The fact that this novel was written in times of great prejudice and that racism was almost an instinct then is reflected in Steinbeck's writing very clearly in everything the characters say and do. The story harbours many fascinating and unique characters, each with a story to tell and it is these people that really bring the story to life.
As the title of this review suggests, "Of Mice and Men" is, in my opinion, one of the top American classics along with novels such as "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. This is a definite must-read. There is much to cherish here.
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162 of 172 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 2002
Of Mice And Men is truly a special piece of literature that seems so simple whilst you are reading it but at the same time deals with a lot of complicated issues which all of us have to deal with at some point in our lives.
Its a story of two friends, Lennie and George, who wander from town to town looking for work in order to raise the capital to one day settle down in a farm of their own and count out their days. The one snag in this plan is Lennie, a giant of a man with the mind of a child who, although full of good intentions, finds himself trouble at every stop.
Steinbeck often tackles weighty issues (most evident in Grapes Of Wrath) and the theme of the future and the dreams of simple men is a hefty one but he handles this book with such poetic grace that you can't help but be drawn into the lives of these two men and as the book draws to its climax nothing can prepare you for the almighty hammer blow at its conclusion.
This is a book for all those who have a dream of the future or those who have found themselves somehow lost in life. It deals with how complicated the simple life can be and how elusive true contentment is. There has been many a film made of this film but believe me, nothing can compare to the vivid world that the pages of this book generates inside your minds eye and as you turn the final page it will stay there with you and be with you always.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2012
The introduction to this edition tells us that Of Mice and Men continues to be banned by school boards throughout the US, mainly because of the earthy, racist language used by the characters throughout. There are plenty of UK students who wish the same applied here. For some reason, Of Mice and Men occupies the same risible space in the minds of many english students as that other course staple To Kill a Mockingbird - that is, they hate it. A pity, because Of Mice and Men is superb, and touches on universal themes such as loneliness, poverty, friendship, jealousy and cruelty, which are part of its enduring relevance and appeal. It is a dream within a dream - the dream of two itinerant farm workers, Lenny and George, to scrape enough money together to buy a small farm of their own, become independent and 'live off the fat o' the lan'.

Susan Shillinglaw writes a revealing introduction to this edition, which also tells us that Steinbeck conceived a new narrative form - the 'playable novel' i.e. a story that could equally be read as a conventional narrative or seen in dramatic performance. The plot is staged as a play, with theatric scenes and a narrative that guides us carefully from one set piece to the next. It is clear from the outset that this will be a tragic 'play', and so it proves. The intro also tells us that Steinbeck saw with his own eyes a hired hand kill a ranch foreman with a pitchfork when working as a farm hand himself. This episode is reimagined as one of the pivotal points of the narrative, and leads to the tragic ending.

GCSE students may hate it, but Of Mice and Men has stood the test of time as an enduring, precautionary tale of what happens when man is pitched against fellow man in a society that has lost its true sense of morality. It is this universality and the razor-sharp tightness of Steinbeck's storytelling, that makes Of Mice and Men a profoundly moving and richly rewarding read.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2012
A fantastic piece of writing, but why doesn't the description mention that all the notes are in german. Also the book is in a mini paperback format (no room for note making) - this should be part of the description, as very few people will check the dimensions for a paperback book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2014
This is a great book which covers everything from The Great Depression to friendship, talks about characters' highs, lows, and definitely brings tension. It will leave you contemplating your friendship. Steinbeck's choice of words are very good because they show the themes of the book. For someone who likes action it may be slightly boring for them but for someone who prefers a less action-themed book it would be a good read. It's a drama/tragedy. 'Of Mice and Men' is short and sweet where action is limited however tension is extremely high. The plot and fluency are perfectly planned out.

However, at some points it was a bit boring. The book is too short - as soon as it starts to get interesting, it's over. It's also obvious at the end that the book is going to end - it's a little too predictable and there is quite a lot of death.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 3 November 2011
No reference was made in the description that the notes on each page at the bottom are in German (presumably for German students studying English). The paperback version is very small (under 4 inches x under 6 inches 14.7 cms x 9.6 cms). There is no room to add notes. Big Amazon fan and this is a rare occasion when I feel I have been let down.However at least I don't have to pay for the return postage costs as Amazon do, so still a great service.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2005
I first read this book the same way so many people do. GCSE English. Well 10 years later I picked it up again yet this time for fun. I was attempting to do something that teachers of the time seemed trained to not allow to happen, and that was to enjoy a classic.
Looking for the significance of animals making noises, or trees gently blowing in the wind is all well and good but it can really lose the energy and drive that the author was trying to instil in the book. For above everything else Steinbeck is trying to paint a picture, its not a big picture and he doesn't have long to paint it.
This leads us to the main characters, George and Lennie, one slow witted yet a bear of a man, the other much smaller yet the brains of the outfit. These two workers go from farm to farm getting work where they can but always having to move on. Lennie being very prone to "accidents".
This books is like Steinbeck's others in that it tackles tough issues, but this one is far more focused on the relationship these two friends have built up over the years, and how they can ensure their own protection as it moves forward. This is sensitively handled and a real treat to read, George's internal conflict about how he has saddled his life with the liability of Lennie vs. the responsibility he feels he has to him is handled superbly and you can really find yourselves rooting for these two unlikely companion.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 19 October 1999
I am using this tape with my students and we're all enthralled and entranced as the fates of George and Lennie are unravelled by Steinbeck's storytelling. The students are all hearing/reading the story for the first time - but I'm hearing it anew and relishing every word as Sinise's sympathetic interpertations of the characters bring the book to life.
This tape would also be a super introduction to Steinbeck for anyone who has not yet read this author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
As soon as I read the opening chapter I soon found myself lost within a wonderfully crafted,thought provoking John Steinbeck novel which was simply impossible to put down!

When I decided to read this classic story I initially believed it would be more of a chore than a leisure; I thought wrong. Of Mice and Men is simply unique to any other definitive novel due to Steinbeck's understanding and knowledge within the characteristics and setting in the story.

The two characters Lennie and George soon seem like brothers to yourself and each other as they experience the journey of a lifetime, and help you travel on Steinbeck's rollercoaster of emotions to fulfill their lifetime dream. This fabulous author creates fondness, empathy and feelings you never new were there;experiences that have never been experienced.

Trying to find a mistake in this book is like trying to find a needle in a haystack; simply impossible! This intriguing piece of literature is simply faultless which is why it will remain teaching me and future generations a new lesson every time it is opened.

Four pounds,100 pages, a whole new life...
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
"Of Mice and Men" is one of John Steinbeck's best-known and most popular books. It is a powerful and moving story of the lonely and dispossessed. It was written during the mid-1930s in Pacific Grove and Los Gatos ranch, California. It's setting is a ranch South of Soledad, California in the 1930s.
It's about two friends, George and Lennie,who share a dream, the typical american dream of the 1930's, of having together a farm, and living out of "the fatta the land".
The book contains many themes, such as the predatory nature of human existence, the importance of fraternity and idealized relationships between men, the impossibility of the American Dream and the destructive imbalance of social power structures in American society.
The New York Times characterised the book as "A thriller, a gripping tale that you will not set down until it is finished".
Buy it without second thought!
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