This is my husband’s favorite book, and he’s been badgering me for years to read it. I always drag my heels when it comes to classics; there are just too many new books that I want to read instead. He wore me down, and I guess I’ll admit defeat. This is an epic novel that captures the prolonged sorrow and fury of migrant families during the Great Depression. The term epic gets thrown around a lot in the book review world, but if I had to give an example, this book would be in the top five. The profound themes reflect the history of the Great Depression but more importantly the humanity of people who find themselves destitute and still able to show kindness and compassion. The main character, Tom Joad, is fresh out of jail, looking to return to his family home. As he meets various people on his journey back, he learns that farm families have been evicted by banks, and people are leaving in droves for California, looking for work and shelter. Steinbeck’s writing is terrifyingly real as he depicts the mass migration with raw, descriptive power. Tom eventually finds his family, and as they too succumb to the draw of California, they encounter one trauma after another, rejected by their fellow Americans. The themes that persist despite their hardships are steadfast dedication to family and the power of pulling together in hard times. The “we take care of our own” vibe persists throughout the book. The final scene of Tom’s sister helping a dying man is a shocking climax to this universal idea of the human experience as one of compassion and altruism. The Grapes of Wrath is classic for a reason, and the rise of fire and dust is still relevant today.
Travel All the Pages is inspired by my two loves - travel and reading, a combo I can't resist. Enjoy these little pairings.