Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: Two field workers are looking for work: George, a mysterious and savvy guy, and Lennie, a slow-witted but great field-hand who tends to stumble into trouble. They start out between jobs because Lennie accidentally scared the daughter of their former boss. They settle into work at a new place, and things start out well enough. George and Lennie try to keep a low profile while they save up some money. Their dream is to buy their own piece of land, have their own patch of crops, and even have a bunny house (Lennie wants to take care of the bunnies). As it goes, accidents continue to happen, and the ending of this book it utterly wild. The 1920s and ’30s were certainly a different time.
I highly recommend this book. Before reading any of Steinbeck’s works, I thought he was another of those sexist, man’s-man types that wrote a lot of American classics. I’m pretty sure he’s not. Both books I’ve read (Of Mice and Men and The Pearl) were tender, and I could tell he really cared about the people his characters represented. I’m probably the last person to realize how awesome Steinbeck was. So I didn’t read Grapes of Wrath in high school–shoot me. (I was forced to watch the movie in high school, and that did not inspire me to pick up the book.)