Today’s post is 15 years in the making. When I was a junior in high school, my English teacher allowed everyone in the class to choose between three different books as our final read for the year. The options were The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger (which is obviously what I chose, because teen angst), A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, or The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I remember listening to the class discussions of the two books I didn’t choose and thinking I needed to get my mits on The Grapes of Wrath. I bought myself a copy that summer and I started it but got distracted. At some point after (or during?) college, I decided the time had come. Of course, by then, I couldn’t find my dang book. To this day I can’t locate it, which is a bummer because it was lovely and had deckle edges. Sigh. Fast forward an upsetting number of years and enter Scribd. Guess what book popped up in my audio book queue?! That’s right! The Grapes of Wrath, y’all!
I’ve got to hand it to audio. Heavily accented language is just better this way. Plus there were harmonica breaks. HARMONICA. I always have a hard time reviewing classics because there are so many people who are so much smarter than me who have said all the brilliant things there are to say on the subject. Instead of writing a review, I thought I’d list some of the things I’m going to try harder to be thankful for after reading about the plight of the Joad family.
1. My house is in no danger of being deliberately pushed off its foundation by a tractor.
2. The worst thing that’s ever happened to me on a road trip is bad traffic.
3. Fried dough is a treat at the fair, not my only form of sustenance.
4. I have always had access to indoor plumbing.
5. None of my employers have ever cut my wages in half.
6. I will never have to give birth in an abandoned box car.
7. I’ve never had to go hungry.
8. I’ve never had to go hungry while good food was destroyed in pursuit of profit.
9. I’ve never had someone actively prevent me from growing my own food on unused land in an effort to keep from starving.
10. Seriously, you guys, if I’m hungry it’s probably because I’m on a diet because I have access to all the food and I don’t want to buy new pants. Pants I can totally afford because I get paid more than 25 cents an hour.
The Grapes of Wrath is a classic for a reason and it hit me like a punch in the gut. If you ever need inspiration to count your blessings, put yourself in the Joad Family’s shoes for a spell. I mean shoes metaphorically, of course, because the Joads probably couldn’t afford shoes. This book, you guys. I can’t even.
Talk to me, Bookworms! What is the book that has made you the most grateful for what you’ve got?
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