Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sweet Thursday

Book Review

Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck.

This was serendipity at work.  I had nothing to do with it.  I wish I had.

While visiting the library, my husband picked up two John Steinbeck novels, Tortilla Flat and Sweet Thursday.  I had read Tortilla Flat, but I hadn't even heard of Sweet Thursday.

And I think of myself as a fan of John Steinbeck.

I'm only fooling myself, apparently. It seems that true fans of Steinbeck's know that this is the sequel to Cannery Row.

I didn't even know there was a sequel to Cannery Row.

Well, now I do and now I've read it.

Can I delude myself into thinking I'm a true Steinbeck fan again?

Sweet Thursday

This is considered the sequel to Cannery Row. Right away, we are given a brief synopsis of what has happened to our Cannery Row characters while we were gone.

The characters of Cannery Row are fleetingly introduced to us here early on, but we only meet two of those characters right away. Filling in the cast, we are introduced to several new characters. Eventually, we have a fuller complement of characters from Cannery Row, but not all of them return. This is good, for two reasons: for one, it ensures that the story line doesn't continue exactly the same way as before, and for two, it breathes new interest automatically into the story.

I liked the introduction of the new characters and I liked how some of the previous characters changed and evolved. I got a stronger sense of the characters evolving in Sweet Thursday, compared to Cannery Row, and I liked it. They still have their vices and troubles, but some of them find new ways of looking at life and situations.

The plot here seemed to have more movement than Cannery Row. Things happened and things moved along and things changed in unexpected and some expected ways. I liked this too.

I liked this book. I liked this book a lot. Steinbeck usually writes depressing, and sometimes oppressive, stories. This is no different, except that the characters seemed to evolve more, and did so in interesting ways. I can't say this book leaves one feeling good or hopeful, but compared to Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat and East of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath, this is by far my favorite.

I loved this book.  Not "liked." Loved it!

It might, just might, make my top ten list of favorite books of all time. Oh, I've never tried to make a top ten list, actually. I've always been daunted by such a task. Nonetheless, this book is way, way up there.

I really loved it!

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