Some of the main complaints leading to this book being challenged or even banned in some areas are due to swear words, “taking the Lord’s name in vain”, some sexual overtones, and was deemed depressing and morbid by some. While this is for sure no lighthearted, pick-me-up read, it’s a fantastic yet tragic look at two men just trying to make it in a world that cares little for whether they do or not.
George Milton, and his companion Lennie, who is mentally disabled, are our main characters and we follow them through the tough times many saw during the Great Depression. The two find work on a farm but are met with challenges, mainly from the farm owner’s son and daughter-in-law. Lennie, being a large, strong, but mentally like a child is an easy target for ridicule and when a few tragic events occur at the hands of this hulkish man, George is faced with a very difficult decision.
While I think people should read this for a number of reasons, I, again, think that banning a classic that does so much to look at the in-depth struggles of characters so many might identify with, or even learn from, is tragic in and of itself. Yes this is a hard book to read, in terms of the difficulty these characters face, but some of the main problems people have with this book, or most banned books, all come from authors trying to capture reality.
People, and characters, are rough around the edges, they swear, are overly sexualized at times or do crude things, and sometimes they struggle. While I get some people are offended by certain things, taking away a book from certain schools or libraries is counterintuitive to what novels are supposed to do!
This book, I would think, forces people to follow and empathize with people/characters they otherwise would likely never associate with and see people they may think of as lower class as exactly what they are: people. Also, we see the tragic decision a friend must make for another and walk each step with them as they struggle on their way. No, it’s not a happy book but it’s a great book and one I recommend purely on the fact that it makes you walk with people and in a time that may be quiet foreign to you in our day and age.