This is an extremely difficult book to review because it is so good, so well written and a classic yet I don't particularly like it. I think the problem for me is that I read fiction primarily for enjoyment, if I happen to learn something or be inspired by something from the book that would be a bonus. However, I don't read fiction for edification or enlightenment, so a "worthy" or "important" book with little or no entertainment value is not going to go on my Favorites shelf.
I find this book to be relentlessly depressing, misfortune piles on misfortunes for the poor Joad "fambly". The characterization is wonderful and vivid, which only makes the book that much more miserable. I did come to care about the characters and I kept wondering when they will catch a break. Of course I understand the whole point
of the book is that they don't
catch a break. Migrant workers during the Great Depression generally did not stumble upon Lady Luck, still these are such likable characters that I could not help but hope in vain.
The audiobook version I listened to is extremely well read, the number of voices the reader managed to do is nothing short of astonishing. Still, it took me over a month to finish this book, yet I could not simply give up on it because I wanted to know what will happen to those characters. Strangely enough I am not dissuaded from reading more Steinbecks, I previously read Of Mice and Men which is very good, and I hope I will like East of Eden a bit better than this one!
Now that I am done with The Grapes of Wrath I think I will go and have a lie down or do a bit of moping around the house.