Steinbeck's original title for this small gem was Something that Happened. His idea was to write a play in novella form and to simply describe the action, rather than explain it. In my view, Steinbeck succeeded admirably in this task. I've not seen any of the film adaptations of the work (no reason why not, just never got around to it). Nor have I seen the play based on the book. However, I can easily see how the narrative would work as a piece of theatre. The book has a strong theatricality: in the characters, the dialogue, the themes and the way in which dramatic tension is built from the opening paragraphs to the final scene. As I read, I could see the action taking place on a stage. I could even visualise the set and the way the stage was lit. Suffice to say, I love what Steinbeck achieved. He told a heart-wrenching story and created unforgettable characters in just a little over one hundred pages. I cried at the end. George and Lennie's dreams and the way in which they are shattered will remain with me for a long time.
Over the past few months, I've fallen in love with John Steinbeck's writing. I kick myself that it took me so long to get around to reading his work. On the other hand, Steinbeck may be one of those writers whom I would have appreciated less had I read him when I was young. I'd give this five stars, but that would be saying the work is equal in stature to The Grapes of Wrath, which I don't think it is. So 4-1/2 stars will have to do.