Sunday, June 29, 2008

Recent Read

Cannery Row - John Steinbeck. My last "Recent Read" was another Steinbeck book, "Travels With Charley". Reading that book gave me an appreciation for Steinbeck's talent and when my daughter, CaJenn, got married at the end of Cannery Row in Monterey, CA a couple of weeks ago I just knew I would have to read this classic too.

Cannery Row is a delightful, quirky story of a group of misfits who live in the sardine capital of the world. At the time this book was published (1945) Cannery Row was home to 16 sardine canneries. It was the peak year for this business and Monterey was a bustling town.

One of the central figures in the book, "Doc", makes a living by gathering and supplying various companies with specimens of sea life which he collects from nearby beaches. Doc is somewhat mysterious and while everyone calls him "Doc" he is not a medical doctor. That does not keep the locals from coming to him for medical problems and "Doc" does his best to help. Doc is a beloved figure to the downtrodden of Cannery Row.

Mack and the boys, Hazel, Eddie, Hughie and Jones, are the counterpoint to Doc. They are the fringes of society. They live in an abandoned warehouse, which they called The Palace Flophouse and Grill, and pursue the free spirited life, working only when absolutely necessary and constantly scheming for the next big deal.

A large part of the book centers around Mack and the boys planning and throwing a party for Doc. They had to do it twice because the first time Doc was out of town and by the time he got home. Mack and the boys and all the other guests were totally drunk and had trashed Doc's place.

This is a very entertaining book and if you want it to be it has an intellectual sub story all about humanity, morality, psychology and social issues. To tell you the truth, I resisted the intellectual part and just enjoyed the hell out of a rollicking good story.

As I read the book I said to myself, this is really good but this is a guy book. Only a guy would understand the convoluted logic and antics of Mack and the boys. Maybe I'm wrong however, because this book would not have achieved the acclaim it has if only guys read it.

In any case I can heartily recommend this book to all the guys out there. Ladies, you might want to try it too....

Thanks for visiting.

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