This is a simple and exceedingly realistic story about a kind-hearted yet practical man named George and his simple-minded but incredibly strong friend, Lennie. Lennie is such a simpleton that he often forgets that he’s a bulky grown man. This causes the duo a lot of trouble and this story too starts with George and Lennie running away from a place after Lennie got himself into a mess.
The story is set in depression-era America, with George and Lennie being farm workers. They are poor, but they too have the typical American dream of having their own place and living ‘off the fatta the land’ as Lennie would put it.
So, on the run from their previous employers and looking to make some money to settle down, George and Lennie reach a farm to work as farm hands. Here, they meet a group of really interesting characters and their interactions with these people is what forms the bulk of the story.
The interactions are normal human interactions to the point of being mundane. But they way they’ve been written, brings them to life. The conversations have everything from the accents, to the nuances that tell you of Lennie’s childish wonder and innocence, of George’s well-meaning frustration, Candy’s cowardly anxiety, Slim’s silent and brooding wisdom and Curley’s evil intentions. They keep you engaged throughout and this is what makes this book such a brisk read.
What stands out for me though, is the nonchalance of the narrative. There’s a lot of poverty, desperation, lust, anger and panic depicted in the book, but it is so matter-of-fact that it really takes one by surprise! In fact, the last line just about wraps it all up in a beautiful ‘the universe doesn’t give a damn’ way.
There aren’t many passages in the book that I can quote out of context, the whole story flows like just one really long scene. But, I still have a few good ones to give a sneak peek of what to expect.
Rating – 7/10 (I wouldn’t say that it’s a must read, but at 120 pages, it is a very quick and light read that is also a nice story, so you must read it :P)