Rating: 5 out 5
First of all, I'm going to say that I've enjoyed the books written by John Steinbeck that I've read so far: Grapes of Wrath, The Pearl and Of Mice and Men. However, I believe that East of Eden is the best one. In fact, it's the best one so far I've read this year, and I'll add it to my favorite and must read list.
East of Eden is about two families - the Hamiltons and the Trasks. It's the story of their struggles and triumphs together. The majority of the story, however, is all about the Trasks. John Steinbeck adapted the Cain and Abel story and used this on his characters - Adam and Charles Trask and then later on Adam's twin sons - Caleb and Aron. I won't go into details about the plot but I will tell you that Steinbeck's adaptation worked so well. The characters were well developed. They were dynamic. Each can be both strong and weak at the same time. They weren't perfect. Because Steinbeck gave them contrasting human qualities and emotions such as the brothers' love and jealousy for each other made them so interesting and so complex.
Complex is one just one of the words I will describe Catherine Trask - the mother of the twins. She's the character that one would love to hate. She's the villainess in this story. Selfish and sadistic, Cathy destroys those who hate her and those who love her. But while Cathy was pure evil, Steinbeck also created the characters Samuel and Lee. I thought they were the most beloved characters in the book.
I cannot recommend this book enough. With its unforgettable characters and excellent storyline, East of Eden definitely shouldn't be missed.