The Grapes of Wrath Review
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The author John Steinbeck first came to my attention with a book called Travels with Charley, his account of a cross-country road trip with his dog. The book inspired me to drive to Alaska and back while in my early twenties, and someday Iíll do it again.

Afterwards, I was a little surprised to learn that the author had also written some great American fiction works, including The Grapes of Wrath. Twenty years later I finally read it, and Iím glad I did.

Steinbeck introduces us to a simple extended farm family, the Joads. Things are bad in Oklahoma. Itís the middle of the Great Depression, fields that should be producing wheat have turned to gray sand, and the rains simply will not come. Bills donít get paid, and the banks get rest
less. Finally, the Joads and others like them are simply kicked off their lands, so the bankers can combine the tiny farms to squeeze out a profit.

But where will these farm families go? Well, there might be work in California, and that begins a road trip saga that takes the Joads and their jalopy truck across five hot, dusty states. Not all of them make it, but most of them do, and try their best to survive in their strange new surroundings.

Ma Joad is the natural leader of this brood. Holding her large family together is nearly impossible under the enormous stress, but she does her damnedest and holds her head high.

If youíve only seen the classic 1940 film, experience the classic book too. Each enriches the other. One bonus to the book: a truly strange (yet fitting) ending that you wonít find in the movie.

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