Hello! Welcome to my little corner of the universe. Join me as I make my way through my infinite reading list one page at a time.
This book has the best opening chapter that I've ever read. The narrative of the dust spreading across the land was hauntingly beautiful. It is unbelievable that a family would pack up their entire household (including more than a dozen family members) into an old jalopy and drive across a vast desert based on the promises of a printed handbill. But it did happen. The Grapes of Wrath is the story of hundreds of thousands of Americans, and as despressing as it is, it is a part of American history.
The matriarch of the Joad famiy, Ma, has moved to the top of my list of favorite strong female characters (sorry Scarlett). This woman is tough as nails and when it comes to taking care of her family, she doesn't take shit from anyone and gets stuff done like a boss. She's not afraid to brandish a blunt weapon when necessary or sleep next to a dead body for the sake of getting her family to their destination. In short, I love Ma.
I enjoyed the chapters that directly involved the Joad family and could have done without the ones about cotton sacks, jalopy salesmen, waitresses in diners, and turtles. Although I do see the metaphor behind the turtle. He may be down in the dirt and face many obstacles, but he will continue on his journey no matter what, and the Joads will do the same. Steinbeck is anything but subtle and practically beats you over the head with the anti-capitalism message, but not enough to make me stop reading. However, I am completely unsatisfied with the ending, in part because it was creepy and not really keeping in character with the spoiled, whiny girl we had gotten to know in previous chapters, but also because I feel like it lacked resolution. After investing so much time and interest in these characters, I need to know the good, the bad, and the ugly about what ultimately happens to this family. Instead, Steinbeck left me hanging. So in my mind, I'm going to pretend that the Joads keep on keeping on, picking those peaches, oranges, and cotton bolls, and eventually live happily ever after in the little house of Ma's dreams.