Monday, September 19, 2011

Book Review: Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

Since I'm still doing a lot of driving these days between attending two schools, working, and volunteering, I've gotten back into audiobooks. It's nice to feel like I'm reading again, even though it takes me a lot longer to get through books that way. Currently, I am listening to David Sedaris' When You are Engulfed in Flames, but I finished Steinbeck's Cannery Row last week.

Believe it or not, this is the first Steinbeck novel I've ever read. I know reading Of Mice and Men or The Grapes of Wrath is a high school rite of passage for many, but for whatever reason, my tenth grade English teacher decided that the Honors section would read The Great Gatsby instead. Since I didn't take a lot of American literature courses in college, I never had the opportunity to read Steinbeck in a formal setting. I stumbled across Cannery Row in the audiobooks section a few weeks ago, and decided to give it a try when I saw that the recording was only around six hours long. 

Overall, I really liked it. The voice acting was very good (this is a critical thing: I have abandoned several audiobooks over that) and fun to listen to. The story wasn't half-bad, either. While I'm not generally a fan of Depression-era literature, Cannery Row was funny, interesting, and gritty, all without being plagued by the preachiness common to literature of that time. Steinbeck deftly creates a world and populates it with all kinds of unique characters, each of whom has his own clear voice. I'll probably read more of his work in the future.

5 out of 5 stars.

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