I happened upon Of Mice and Men relatively late in life, by which I mean I saw it lying around a thrift store when I was 22 and I decided to pick it up. It was such a fascinating read! I think I burned through it in two hours, marvelling at the language and being totally enthralled at how the story played out – George and Lennie are two of the most memorable characters in literature I have ever encountered. Lennie struck a particularly heart-wrenching chord in my heart, and it’s one that has yet to be matched. John Steinbeck is a master of his craft.
Here’s one of my favourite passages in the book:
Lennie said softly, “I di’n’t forget, you bet, God damn. Hide in the brush an’ wait for George.” He pulled his hat down low over his eyes. “George gonna give me hell,” he said. “George gonna wish he was alone an’ not have me bothering’ him.” He turned his head and looked at the bright mountain tops. “I can go right off there an’ find a cave,” he said. And he continued sadly, “-an’ never have no ketchup – but I won’t care. If George don’t want me… I’ll go away. I’ll go away.”
(Excerpt: Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck)