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The Grapes of Wrath had been staring at me for seven years from my bookshelf before I finally got around to reading it. I have to say it was complete madness to wait so long. Ive always appreciated Steinbeck, but even by his standards this book is phenomenal. The first few pages introduce the stream of conscious narrative to weaves through the book sandwiching the story of the Joad familys move to California in search of work. The Joad family are naïve, sometimes simple but resolute and tough. They need to be, as the book charts the downward spiral of the Joad family from land-owning farmers to destitute migrants. Migration is a central theme to this book and is as vital now to this day considering asylum seekers. Steinbeck lifts the lid on the human soul and tries to explain (but not excuse) why minor differences in people so often lead to hatred. Xenophobia is rife in California, even amongst the immigrant workers. Tom Joad is the strongest character in the book and I dare anybody not to like him. His temper is little suspect, but he refuses to let the injustices of employers and law continue. People starved in California whilst crops rotted in fields because it was not economical to pick them - in fact guards were employed to stop people stealing the decaying fruit. No matter how hard the Joad family are ground down you cant help but end up admiring them. Even if their denial is dogmatic at times, their hope for a better life helps sustain them. Please dont make the mistake and leave this book aside for seven years like I did. Now you know of its existence, you cant deny youre at least a little intrigued
User - strokingsam from Oslo, Norway
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