Book Review: The Pearl

In 1947 the Salinas Valley native, John Steinbeck wrote The Pearl.  This short (97 page) story is written in a time far ago in a little village.  Some young people file a very fine pearl and it changes their lives.  On the whole, I found the prose wonderfully written.  That is after all that I have come to expect from this epic writer.  Reviewing this is hard since I like the writing but the story was so sad, it would not be a book that I would want to read again.  Since I had recently read The Red Pony which had some sad stories in it too, maybe that is a good comparison.  I think I liked the Red Pony overall better.  Maybe because it was longer, maybe because it wasn’t as sad.  Either way, this book is worth a read if you haven’t read it before.  But “mentally prepare” yourself.

The Pearl Book Cover The Pearl
John Steinbeck
February 1, 1993

“There it lay, the great pearl, perfect as the moon.” Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a poor diver, gathering pearls from the gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the Kings of Spain and now provide Kino, Juana, and their infant son with meager subsistence. Then, on a day like any other, Kino emerges from the sea with a pearl as large as a sea gull's egg, as "perfect as the moon." With the pearl comes hope, the promise of comfort and of security.... A story of classic simplicity, based on a Mexican folk tale, The Pearl explores the secrets of man's nature, the darkest depths of evil, and the luminous possibilities of love. From the Trade Paperback edition.