Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

"Of Mice and Men" features two migrant farm workers during the Great Depression in California.

The book is about dreams. George and Lennie just want a piece of land to call their own, and they believe in this dream strongly enough that other characters start to buy in too. A place for soft things; a place for independence; a place for respect; a place to live in peace. This is tied in very strongly to socioeconomic status, age, and race, and the issues that it brings up about the American dream are as relevant today as they were then.

The language was interesting. It is apparent that the novel was written many decades ago, and there are a bunch of turns of phrase that I had never heard before (but could guess at, for the most part).

I liked the structure. One character was disagreeable and one character was mean, but there wasn't really an antagonist. It really was a good description of the best laid plans of mice and men going awry. I like this style because a lot of the injustices that happen today aren't the result of one villain's wrongdoing, but rather a system that makes people poor and hungry and where people don't understand one another. For a short book, Steinbeck does a very good job of creating empathy with the different characters such that the reader can understand their wrongdoing and still appreciate them as a person.

Something that I learned: in the US, you can't execute mentally handicapped citizens for their crimes, but the Supreme Court left it up to states that practice the death penalty how to interpret that. Apparently, Texas' standard is that someone is exempt from the death penalty if they are as intelligent as Lennie Small (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/aug/08/john-steinbeck-texas-charact...). Horrifying.