Tortilla Flat

Written by: John Steinbeck
Narrated by: John McDonough
Originally Reviewed: 6-07-18 on
Rating: 2, worthwhile if you’re interested in Steinbeck or Central Coast California

    Not One of My Favorite Steinbeck’s, But…   

It’s still Steinbeck and I crave his words, I missed so much by not reading Steinbeck until my late thirties. All of his stories have resonated with me in some capacity and this one is no different. Having lived on the Monterey Peninsula a few different times over the past twenty years, I like to think of it as my second home. Hearing the exploits of Danny and his posse as they travel the county post WWI reminded me of my time as a Soldier at the Presidio (albeit before GWOT) and keeping an eye on my drinking buddies on Alvarado Street. The crew circuitously navigate back and forth across the ethical/moral line of friendship, predicated on the amount of alcohol they’ve consumed, since they last consumed, or when their consciences overpower that social inhibitor.

Steinbeck never fails to teach through the follies and triumphs of his characters and those in Tortilla Flat have many. I was so proud of the boys’ decision with the Pirate, yet so disappointed in their virtue compromising when it came to the drink. I usually listen at 3x speed and had zero issues with this narration by John McDonough. I’ve listened to several books of his in the past and he’s fabulous. I left only four stars for the book, because – although it’s Steinbeck – it doesn’t compare to his other works. I liked it better than Cannery Row, but far less than, Of Mice And Men, and nowhere near, The Grapes of Wrath.

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