East of Eden Final Discussion and Review

EastofEdenReadalong

Holy moly! I just finished up the last two chapters of East of Eden for the amazing read-along hosted over at The Estella Society. When I first heard about the challenge, I was eager to join because I had never read Steinbeck. I’m always up for reading more classics and increasing my knowledge, so I jumped on board and checked out the book. I’m so glad I did because this might be one of the best classic novels I’ve ever read. I completely fell in love over and over with Steinbeck’s writing, the plot, the characters.

In this segment, a LOT of stuff happened. I mean, duh, right? It’s the end of the book. But seriously. I won’t mention major spoilers, but I will give some teasers. We saw a lot more come to light about Cathy/Kate. Adam suffered a mysterious illness. War erupted and someone joined the army. The Cain and Abel metaphor took on more significance. And now the book is over. If you are intrigued and want to know all the goings-on, go read the book. It’s well worth your time.

Since there are no formal discussion questions for this final wrap-up, I’m going to provide a review in my usual style! Enjoy!

The Story: Adam and his brother Charles grow up under the (dubious) care of their father, who is a highly decorated military expert. Or so he claims. When he dies and they find themselves inheriting a vast fortune obtained through unsure means, Adam marries and moves west. Charles remains behind to take over the farm. Out west, Adam and his wife have twin boys, his wife leaves him, and he begins to strongly depend on his friendships to help him move forward.

The Opening Line: The Salinas Valley is in Northern California.

What I Loved: Steinbeck’s writing is beautiful and intelligent. Character development is very well done. If you’ve been following my checkpoint posts, you’ll know that I relished in hating Cathy/Kate, sympathized with Lee, cheered on Cal and Aron, fought for Adam to be able to move on, and so on and so forth. The plot was good, fairly simple but realistic. The Cain/Abel metaphor was well-written and introduced some foreshadowing and suspense as I wondered what was going to happen to the brothers.

What I Didn’t Love: I was entranced for the first 3/4 of the book, but I found my enthusiasm flagging at the end. For whatever reason, I didn’t love the final chapters as much as the rest of the book. Still good, but not AS good, in my opinion. Maybe I just didn’t want the book to end, though.

Final Thoughts: I’ve heard that this one is different than the other stuff Steinbeck has written, but I will definitely be adding more of his books to my reading list. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with East of Eden, and I think I’ve convinced my roommate to read it as well. It’s well worth your time, immediately accessible, and has some great things to say about humanity and fortitude and nature vs. nurture. If you haven’t read this one yet, you really should!

Rating: 4.5/5

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5 Comments

Filed under Read-Alongs, Reviews

5 responses to “East of Eden Final Discussion and Review

  1. I think I ended up dragging my reading out a bit too far. If I’d been reading with the same vigor, time-wise, that I was in the beginning I don’t think I would’ve slowed. Of course, I had also been to a book group discussion and had some spoilers handed to me. lol Thanks so much for being part of the discussion!

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    • I hate it when I accidentally glean spoilers for the books I’m reading. It does make me slow down, because I don’t feel like there is much left to look forward to, so I don’t have that same page-turning anticipation. But this worked well because none of the roomies had read the book. So I was able to pace myself well and enjoy it. I loved being a part!

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  2. I avoid spoilers like the plague, so I’m just checking in on your final post now, having finally finished East of Eden last night!
    I know what you mean about slowing down at the end, but I guess the pacing did slow down at the end so that the war years and Aron and Cal’s coming of age took up more space in the book than other stretches of years that were only a chapter! I think it was the tagline “Watch out for your brother!” that got me to join the readalong, and I’m so glad I did. It was great to get your thoughts as we went along!

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    • The tagline was intriguing, plus I just can’t resist a read-along or challenge, but I am glad I joined. My final thoughts are that I ended up feeling sorry for everyone in the book. But it resonated with life in that everyone screwed up and everyone made mistakes. I was glad to see some forgiveness and grace in the end, but super sorry for all the consequences that couldn’t be avoided.

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