Customer Reviews for

Cannery Row

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

A reviewer

At first when I started Cannery Row, I figured it was going to be a boring story I might not finish. As I read further, it grew better. Cannery Row tells the story of the local characters living and working around an area of defunct canning factories, set in the 1940'...
At first when I started Cannery Row, I figured it was going to be a boring story I might not finish. As I read further, it grew better. Cannery Row tells the story of the local characters living and working around an area of defunct canning factories, set in the 1940's. It feels like the biography of a small town, with the setting and emotions, as characters. This stands out from other stories because it feels gritty, but it is not a sad, disgusting gritty it is more a melancholy, sleepy sort of gritty. The story has the feeling of a perpetual Sunday morning, being laid back, but without the worries of Monday. Even though Cannery Row is sleepy and meanders along, the humor is not. Sometimes, the humor isn¿t obvious you won¿t know something is going to be funny right off, instead you¿ll unconsciously get the joke later in the story. Other times, the humor builds up like suspense and you¿ll know what¿s coming long before the characters know anything is wrong. The first few chapters are short stories they set up the characters so you¿ll understand everyone¿s motives and personalities during the main plot. The characters are well developed, forming great mind pictures from the shrewd general store owner Lee Chong, Doc the kind and quiet marine biologist, to Mack the carefree, almost philosophical leader of the bums at the Palace Flophouse. The story is also compelling because of the variety of subjects. I found the parts about Doc¿s job of collecting fish and seashells interesting because I knew nothing about it detail Steinbeck went into led you to feel as if you were with doc, knee deep in clear seawater learning about the ocean firsthand. Doc and the girl in the water was attention-grabbing and sad because nothing like it had happened previously in the story. Also the different types of stories within the main story added curiosity. Steinbeck takes time exploring each character¿s past actions, which makes this story a great melting pot of emotions and feelings. If you aren¿t interested in books with ¿meaning¿, and you only enjoy books with action filled plots, you might not want to read this now. If you only read a few books during your lifetime, make this one of them.

posted by Anonymous on November 28, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

look deeper

When I first started reading Cannery Row, I hated it. Absolutely hated it. I thought it was a drug out story with no plot and these stupid little interchapters between. But, I forced myself to read more, and it got better. It got better because I understood it more. ...
When I first started reading Cannery Row, I hated it. Absolutely hated it. I thought it was a drug out story with no plot and these stupid little interchapters between. But, I forced myself to read more, and it got better. It got better because I understood it more. Cannery Row isn't about the story, it's about what's behind it. There are so many themes and lessons that will shine through if you take the time to look back and reflect after you finish the novel. I HIGHLY recommend reading the introduction by Susan Shillinglaw after you read the book, because that's when it will make sense. THEN THE READER CAN TRULY APPRECIATE THE BOOK, AND TAKE SOMETHING AWAY FROM IT AS WELL.

posted by Anonymous on August 21, 2006

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  • Posted May 10, 2012

    **SPOILER ALERT** John Steinbeck, the author of the famous nove

    **SPOILER ALERT**

    John Steinbeck, the author of the famous novels, “Grapes of Wrath” and “Of Mice and Men” continues his unique yet not so unique style with “Cannery Row”. This novel, set immediately after the Great Depression and World War II is ironically a feel-good book. Steinbeck writes with his usual technique of a local setting with characters fighting to survive the struggles of everyday life.

    Although Steinbeck throws in the sorrows of the real world such as when Doc finds a dead girl on the beach, more than one person commits suicide and a harmless mentally challenged boy is sent to an institution this novel takes the form of a happy one. Steinbeck uses his common theme that good can beat evil. His book implies that good-heartedness can create utopia anywhere on Earth, whether it be on the run down Cannery Row or not.

    Steinbeck’s novels often deal with incorrect stereotypes. The characters in his books are not always as they seem on the outside. For example in “Cannery Row” a grocer who seems tough on the outside actually keeps the street running because of his generosity towards his customers. A low-life man who can’t hold down a job gently is able to nurse puppies back to health and a successful doctor who is surrounded by friends is actually extremely lonely. This is a common theme throughout the book.

    Though this can be called a fantasy novel it too has its touch of darkness. Instead of incorporating the hardship themes in real life in the plot line, Steinbeck makes separate chapters to rant. In chapter two Steinbeck goes off of the plot already, to write about his own opinions and speculations of our nation and our world. Steinbeck relies on these off-topic rants to get away from his closely followed plot filled with realistic descriptions of the old local town he knows to add in his anti-utopian thoughts. This allows the novel to end with an optimistic outlook despite his non-related chapters of darkness.

    Overall the typical Steinbeck writes another novel with the same themes and techniques. Although not as deep as his “Of Mice and Men” Steinbeck takes the same approach to shed some light on a local run down town soon after the Great Depression.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2005

    This book was fairly boring.

    I'm not good with symbolism or stuff like that. I like books that tell a straight foreword story. Any one who doesn't understand symbolism will NOT like this book. Although, I did laugh at some of the predictiments that the characters got into.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2000

    What exactly is the Point?

    I have read three other Stienbeck novels beside this one and I must say that I absolutely didn't understand the point of this novel. I was waiting for the major conflict of the novel, but it was absent. I'm pretty well-read, but this book totally befuddled me.

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    Posted March 2, 2012

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    Posted May 29, 2013

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    Posted May 22, 2011

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    Posted April 15, 2012

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