East of Eden

This is going to be a short post, because there’s only so much I can say about this book without giving something away or repeating sentiments you’ve heard before. But I need to post the story of my new favorite book of all time.

Once upon a time, I finished my book club’s monthly book early, something that’s happened maybe twice in the two years we’ve been doing it. I’m kind of an overachiever. I ventured for the first time (again, overachiever) onto the book club shared drive – which book club members upload additional ebook files to JUST OUT OF THE KINDNESS OF THEIR HEARTS. Astounding. – to see if a) the rumors of its existence were true, and b) if there was anything there that interested me in the interim. One of my friends was ranting and raving (yes, both) about East of Eden back when we went camping in Big Sur, and I’ve been wanting to read it since. Imagine my surprise to find that not only does the mystical shared drive exist, East of Eden is one of the 50ish books on the drive. In that moment, our dumbfounded heroine believed in #fate! Also, I found out after I finished the book that Steinbeck’s birthday is the day before mine, aka #fatesquared.

I dove in that night and was hooked instantly by the setting (that’s just me being a narcissist) but the writing is what pulled me out of the water and chopped my head off (that is a fishing metaphor, in case you’re a bit slow). It’s the first book since I can remember that I could have pulled all-nighters consuming, but purposefully slowed wayyyyy down because I didn’t want it to end. As literature, the imagery, perspectives, and style are perfection. But what earns it the favorite spot are the characters and the ideas they discuss. The characters are complex and human and the ideas Steinbeck communicates through them are vitally important. I’m crying that it’s over and happy that it happened. I feel wise and very confused and brave and afraid and like maybe I’ll get a a timshel tattoo even though so many people have one but I’d actually feel good about joining their ranks and I feel 25 now. In a good way. The end.

If there’s nothing else you take from my blog, let it be this: read this fucking book.