A Book a Day - Day 17

Tortilla Flat - John Steinbeck


One of my reading challenges this year is to read ten books by John Steinbeck. Not the most cheerful of authors, but a damn good one.

I’d read The Pearl, The Red Pony, and Of Mice and Men at school, so I thought I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. The first Steinbeck I read for my challenge was The Grapes of Wrath, and that completely wrung me out, so when Tortilla Flat came out of the Candy Bowl, I thought, “oh gawd, here we go again”, and steeled myself for more unremitting doom and gloom.

Yeah, so the blurb on the back said “Steinbeck’s funniest novel”, but I reckoned that was like saying Far From the Madding Crowd was Thomas Hardy’s funniest novel.

Boy, was I wrong; it really was funny. No, seriously, it was!




And it’s not a one off either. I’ve just read Cannery Row, and its sequel Sweet Thursday, and yep, Steinbeck really can do humour. Sadly the same cannot be said of Thomas Hardy.