East of Eden tells the history of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons. The narrator, a member of one of the families, recounts the stories as they were told to him. We follow several generations through life, death, love, and hatred.
The book summary says that this is a modern retelling of the book of Genesis, which is what caught my attention when selecting this book. Sadly, with the exception of Cain and Abel, I don’t see the parallels. Admittedly, I only made it halfway through the book before deciding to stop. At 600 pages, with half of that left to go, I knew it was time for me to stop.
Since I’ve enjoyed Steinbeck’s work in the past, I was disappointed with this one. As usual, his characters are very human. They are flawed, some of them deeply. I found what I enjoyed most about this novel were the long sections of dialogue between characters.
It was the rest of the book that failed to keep my interest. Long sections of narration and scene description. At one point, there was almost an entire page describing how a wooden structure was built. The story often felt disjointed as it went from one character to another, until many of the stories merge. However, more characters are added as the novel moves along.
Be aware that there is a lot of cursing and adult themes in this novel.
1) Overall Plot = 3
2) Characters = 4
3) Flow/Pace of the story = 2
4) Is the story easy to follow? = 4
5) Overall Enjoyability = 2.5
Average of score 3.1 out of 5