30-Day October Book Challenge ~ Day 14

East of Eden (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) (Edition Revised) by Steinbeck, John [Paperback(1992£©] -

Day 14 ~ Book turned movie and completely desecrated


I watched the 1955 movie with James Dean before I read the book and long after he was dead. The movie was actually quite good, but when I finally read the book I was shocked to find out how much of it wasn't even in the movie.


Before the plot commences in East of Eden, Steinbeck describes the Salinas Valley in California and the story of an immigrant family from Ireland. This is how Steinbeck lured me into his book. The writing is exquisitely captivating. And then the action begins.


The most shocking character is Cathy Ames, who becomes the mother of twin boys (one of which is the character James Dean plays). I've never come across a character quite like Cathy. To say she is evil doesn't begin to describe her.


Desecrating East of Eden may be too harsh a word to describe the movie version. It would be more fair to say the movie doesn't come within a mile of getting it right. But considering that the book is 600 pages, maybe a mile is as close as a two-hour movie can get.


If you're looking to read the culmination of an author's career, listen to what Steinbeck stated about East of Eden:


"It has everything in it I have been able to learn about my craft or profession in all these years. I think everything else I have written has been, in a sense, practice for this."

You can't get much better than that.