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!