During my formative years, I was very shy and quiet. In lieu of companions my own age, my best friends were the authors at my local library. My fondest memories were among the shelves which then seemed a mile high. Among these bound confidants is where I first stumbled John Steinbeck when I was 13. That was the first time that I read The Grapes of Wrath, and I’ve returned to this old friend at least twice since.
This American classic by one of the most influential and recognized writers in 20th century American fiction was banned for “profanity and sexual references” from being read or distributed in Kern County, CA in 1939. This is the story about one family’s grueling exodus amidst the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, hoping for a better life and instead finding that there is none. This is a book without a happy ending, one in which the American dream is palpable yet just out of reach. If you have not read this, now is the time to do so.