Penny Book Review: East of Eden by John Steinbeck

That’s how you have to say it: East-of-Eden-by-John-Steinbeck. Well, that’s how we say it around here, and we are ultimately the coolest, so…

So anyway, I was sitting on the toilet when I finished the book because that’s just how great it is, and I reached the last line and just completely teared up. It’s so perfect. That is all.

Oh, you want a review?

Gosh. How does a review work? I think first of all you do a summary of the book. East of Eden by John Steinbeck is an epic novel spanning three generations and multiple families. It mostly focuses on the Trask family. It also parallels the Cain and Abel story in multiple ways that are just fantastic and mind-blowing and…

This isn’t working, is it?

Maybe for these book reviews I should just list reasons you, dear reader, ought to put the book on the top of your To Read stack. So here it is:

  1. It’s just a fantastic story. Catherine is the most evil woman in the world, the Trask boys are great, there’s a lettuce shipping scheme that’s a disaster, Lee is the coolest…which brings up another point.
  2. Steinbeck’s humor is great. The whole thing about Lee talking pidgin English but actually having the ability to speak completely normal English is just hilarious. I mean, Lee is the greatest overall. In fact…
  3. Lee. That is all.
  4. Timshel. That is also all. (P.S. My MFA tuition came complete with the ability to write a critical paper on any subject. I could so write about Aron vs. Cal and the concept of how Cal’s life reflects timshel, but Aron’s doesn’t, and that’s why Aron ultimately can’t get past the fact that his mother is…well, read the book and you’ll find out.)
  5. Intertextuality. Speaking of my MFA, this book is what inspired my critical thesis, and, by extension, my creative thesis. By intertextuality, I man the fact that Steinbeck uses the Cain and Abel story as a basis for East of Eden, commenting on it through the actions of his characters. And timshel. The technique is very, very cool, and worth writing forty-plus pages on.

Anyway, maybe that hasn’t convinced you to add it to your list. That’s fine. Just know that you’ll be missing out, and I’ll be judging you silently and…yeah. Okay. Just get off the computer and read it, a’ight?


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