Book Review / Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck

My Rating: 3 of 5 

Page Count: 208

Date Finished: August 20, 2017



Tortilla Flat is recognized as Steinbeck’s first critical and commercial success and rightfully so. It’s the best that I’ve encountered since starting at the beginning of his collection. The story follows a group of friends, made up mostly of thieves and former prisoners, who out of the kindness of their hearts get into the most absurd situations. Reminiscent of Cannery Row, the book is centered around a group of friends in Monterey and demonstrates Steinbeck’s style of humor wonderfully. Even though the absurdities stand out and felt straight out of a Monty Python film, the book also gets the emotional juices flowing as it goes along using comradery as the device.

I found this to be an enjoyable read but it didn’t connect with me the same way Cannery Row did so it won’t be etched into my mind quite as boldly. Tortilla Flat has an underlying mythical feel to it, which I admit I’m not easily swept away by in novels, but it’s less apparent than that of To a God Unknown. It’s one that I would like to return to in the future because it seems like a book that will grow on me with each read. I couldn’t help but smile on many occasions due to the enjoyment Steinbeck must have felt writing this book. It was nice to take a break from his completely serious work, sit down with these fictional characters and enjoy some stolen wine and cheese.



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