So my literary crush on John Steinbeck grew with this book, which is more a series of sketches than an actual novel, although there is something of a plot here and there. Regardless of the format, it's 100% entertaining. All the characters in this book felt like living, breathing people to me. I can't lie, I could have done without the "accent transcription" of Mr. Lee ("we go see flog" etc.), but that's an unfortunate sign of the times in which the book was written (1945), and there's not a lot of it.
Some of the chapters left me scratching my head; but in a good way, in a way that makes me ponder Steinbeck's craft in placing some of the sketches exactly where he did. I'd LOVE to write a paper on this book for a class, or at least discuss it in a class or with a good book group. I feel like this book is a living, breathing entity. Apparently there's a sequel - I will have to read that as soon as I can manage it (I have one last book for 2015 in line first). Highly recommended.