East of Eden

014200065501lzzzzzzz We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the never ending contest in ourselves of good & evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal. Vice has always a fresh new young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is. - Steinbeck, pg. 413

A couple years ago, someone told me this book was why he kept reading. He said that in a time where he wasn't really too fond of books, this one by Steinbeck helped him fall in love with fiction all over again. I went out & bought the back that night.

For the past few years, it's been sitting on my shelf - taunting me. Ill admit. I questioned the quality based on the sheer volume.

Then, one of my co-teachers read it & loved it.

Then, I heard Jason Russell (co-founder of Invisible Children) place it on his "Top 3 Books Every Human Must Read" list.

I've had numerous friends tell me it's the ONE PIECE OF FICTION they have actually enjoyed.

Really? This book?

I finally decided to try & read it this summer. What can I say. I have a penchant for peer pressure. I opened up the book around the middle of June.

I just finished this book about three days ago.

It never takes me this long to read. Never. I recall being the middle & thinking, "Good Lord, am I ever going to finish?"

And then I did.

I loved it.

I must say one thing: it didn't take me long because of the length.To be precise, it took me awhile simply because of the brilliancy & beauty of Steinbeck's language. The diction in this book was...superb. And, more than once I just had to sit the book down not because of boredom, but because I needed to think. Think!

Bottom line? I know for a fact that this is one of those books I will hopefully get to teach some day & more than likely, I will read numerous times.

Slight Plea: I think, if you allowed yourself to get so caught up in characters & who goes where, this book could be incredibly confusing. However. Don't let it. Steinbeck's ode to human nature is pretty mesmerizing, & I guarantee if you just let the story roll over you, you're going to connect yourself with one of the characters. Let's just hope it's not Cathy.

(makes you wanna read it, right???)

Posted on August 10, 2009 .