Book Reviews of Cannery Row

Cannery Row
Cannery Row
Author: John Steinbeck
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ISBN-13: 9780140187373
ISBN-10: 0140187375
Pages: 185
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 50 ratings
Publisher: Penguin Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

21 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Cannery Row on + 376 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
A fine, great, quick read about the seemingly simple lives of the seemingly simple folks living in Cannery Row. Steinbeck's way with words lends itself to making it easy on your ear, hearing the stories of Mack & the boys, as much as you hate them for all that they represent, you can't help but love them in the end.

Steinbeck takes all his characters and makes them as flawed as he possibly can, yet somehow, just like you can tell your own son not to wreck the family car, then watch him do it, you shake your head and still love him. Thus is Steinbeck's talent. Take the day to kick up your heels and read this story for the adventure it is, then take the month to think about what you've really read.
reviewed Cannery Row on + 232 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I thought all of Steinbecks books were real serious like "Grapes of Wrath" and boy was I wrong. This book is so funny and delightful! I found out he wrote several funny books. The people in this book are so real and charming. I really loved this book!
reviewed Cannery Row on + 179 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
After East of Eden, this is my favorite Steinbeck novel. Set in Montery, CA, in a blue collar community, the character development is rich and colorful, their stories for the most part, upbeat and realistic. You care about each character because they ARE so normal and realatable. A literary masterpiece of simplicity in storytelling.
reviewed Cannery Row on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I've read this book at three different times in my life - high school, as a young newlywed, and as a mom with two teenage kids. Each time I take away something different. Steinbeck truly writes for all of us. The character of Doc is my favorite - brilliant, driven, but deeply flawed. Who among us doesn't carry varied pieces of the same life?
reviewed Cannery Row on + 22 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This story is one of Steinbeck's classics. He weaves a story of humor and melancholy amidst a group of misfits on the docks. The book is short, and it's amazing how Steinbeck can paint such vivid pictures and detailed situations with so few words.
reviewed Cannery Row on + 170 more book reviews
Cannery Row is a place i love to visit up in Monterey- this book captures the essence of Cannery Row well. Steinbeck is an amazing author, and he can bring a place to life from the pages of his books, however i must say that this was not my favorite book. I found some of the things he wrote about to be boring, while he would mention other things that would have been very interesting to learn more about, yet he just glossed over them. I kept waiting for the story to pick up and go somewhere,yet to me, it never went anywhere, just meandered then ended.
reviewed Cannery Row on + 7 more book reviews
"Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream..."
reviewed Cannery Row on + 15 more book reviews
Pretty much everybody has heard of "Cannery Row" and yet most haven't read it, going for Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath" or "Of Mice and Men" instead. While those books are traveling stories, this one is firmly rooted in one spot: amongst the low-rent denizens of 30's or 40's Monterrey. There's drunks, do-gooders, prostitutes, day laborers, Chinese grocery owners, and all of their lives are intertwined. This book is a good snapshot of an interesting period in a unique place and time.

The book is practically new.
reviewed Cannery Row on + 29 more book reviews
It was ok, not the great American novel though.
reviewed Cannery Row on + 3 more book reviews
marvelous, lyrical writing...engaging characters dance through a crazy whirl of a story. you'll remember these folks forever.
reviewed Cannery Row on
Fast read for Steinbeck fans.
reviewed Cannery Row on + 4 more book reviews
I adore Steinbeck and am enjoying him more today than I did in high school, eons ago. Great book!
reviewed Cannery Row on + 4 more book reviews
This book is a pleasurable, enjoyable read. The characters are wonderful, the story line is funny and sentimental. It's easy to read, and Steinbeck paints this little world that you feel like being in. There's a reason they teach this in your American Lit class; it's just great writing. This has to be his best book. This is one to fall in love with.
reviewed Cannery Row on + 29 more book reviews
Every town should have a Doc and lovable drunks and hookers with hearts of gold.
reviewed Cannery Row on + 16 more book reviews
Classic Steinbeck - although a tad different in style. Hunorous at times. I loved it.
reviewed Cannery Row on + 102 more book reviews
Knowing that I loved East of Eden, I expected something like that from this book. They are NOT similar at all.

I had a hard time getting into this book ... I couldn't quite figure out what the author was trying to do. However, once I figured it out, I loved this short little book!

Cannery Row is about the people living in on the row (it's in Monterey, California, in case you didn't know). It's about their lives, what they do from day to day, how they interact. The story is set in the 1930s when money is tight but Prohibition is over.

In brief, somewhat unconnected chapters, Steinbeck introduces you to the men and women of the town. What I realized about halfway through the book is that he's actually giving you the events of a week or so in chronological order. He updates you on one group of people, then in the next chapter fills you in on what another group is doing across town. Sometimes those stories relate to each other, sometimes not. Once I "got it" the book completely made sense to me and I really enjoyed it.

I do have to mention Steinbeck's amazing writing. His descriptions are vivid and unique. For those of you familiar with the coast of California (I've been there a few times) you'll immediately recognize the towns and physical features he includes. But even if you've never seen a tide pool, for example, you'll be able to see it clearly in your imagination. I wanted to include the entire tide pool description here but it's too long. Instead, I'll give you this snippet:

The creeping murderer, the octopus, steals out, slowly, softly, moving like a gray mist, pretending now to be a bit of weed, now a rock, now a lump of decaying meat while its evil goat eyes watch coldly. ... suddenly it runs lightly on the tips of its arms, as ferociously as a charging cat.

You really have to read that entire section - it's is so ... vivid is the only word I can come up with.

In other parts of the book the author uses interesting word choices as well. At one point some men are smelling the stew they've been cooking for hours and the smell is "heartbreaking" ... I can feel that. Several of the men say "idear" rather than "idea" ... my uncles all use that word too.

At just over 100 pages, this is an easy and entertaining read with excellent use of language.

(Read more of my reviews on my blog:
reviewed Cannery Row on + 9 more book reviews
A little dry
reviewed Cannery Row on + 59 more book reviews
classic Steinbeck! One of my favorites from high school and I still love it today. Gritty and real!
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A quick read, very interesting.
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Quintessential Steinbeck.

A little 'Grapes of Wrath,' a little 'East of Eden,' a little 'Tortilla Flat.' I can even see in Doc the man that would see the need to travel the country and write 'Travels with Charley.' In Doc, I see a smart guy who needs to be reminded - whether he likes it or not - that life is the ugly and common things we all deal with.

Also like typical Steinbeck, some of the 'story' (thin as it is) wanders off to unresolved dead ends, but we can't worry about that. There's a party right here, a good story, some women, some booze, some fighting, and some music, and you can't live every life in this world. Just one of them. Some of it you have to let go.
reviewed Cannery Row on
This came to me via a 'free book' rack; someone obviously used it for school and it has some notes written in it. Most are in pencil and should be easily erased if they bother you.