‘Tortilla Flat’ by John Steinbeck

I managed to cross off another book from my Reading Classics list which is awesome. High five, self!

Source: Goodreads

The story with this book is, I first read it in 10th grade. In fact, I have a very specific memory of sitting in front of my first period classroom, it was shortly before the summer holidays, reading this book while waiting for the room to be opened up. That’s all I remembered of this book. Not the story but me reading it.

And actually, that speaks volumes to me relationship with the story. The book is short enough and the writing is pretty good even though I read it in German which feels weird. But the writing felt seamless (just like an H&M sports top #sorrynotsorry) and flowed nicely. However the story itself wasn’t my cup of tea.

I constantly felt like I was missing this huge thing this story is supposed to tell me but all I could see was the group of friends who get the privilege of inheriting a house (well, two in fact), living day to day, not working at all and stealing all their stuff from other people. The friends were nice enough and some of them were actually good people, like that guy with the dogs whose name I already forgot but I couldn’t look past the fact that they did nothing to support themselves. All they did was drink wine, or steal wine or steal other stuff they could trade for wine. And I’m not sure how I feel about this being portrayed through a bunch of latin americans. I’m really trying to factor in the time this was written in but it’s difficult. It feels problematic. Especially when a white man writes this.

All in all, I’m torn with this book. The good writing on the one hand but the nonsense (to me) story on the other. I’m still waiting for the moral of the story to magically appear in front of me but I guess I’ll spend another 10+ years waiting for that to happen.

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