Hello there, and welcome to my book blog! I hope to become your regular book blog rest stop. I am a 40 (cough, cough) something bibliophile and busy mother of 2 girls, but somehow manage to find time to read!
I am embarrassed to say that I have never read any of Steinbeck's novels. Ever. Despite buying this novella years ago, AND buying East of Eden back when it was an Oprah pick, I had not read either. Until now. A neighbor of ours (and our amazing teenage babysitter) had an English assignment to read The Pearl, so I told her I would read it with her as I had a copy. At 87 pages, the book is small, but mighty. The story is so beautifully told it breaks your heart. As you read, you feel as if you are watching a movie, the images are vivid and you can feel, smell, hear, and see everything that Steinbeck creates within the story.
The Pearl is a story that everyone can relate to. Kino is a poor man with a beautiful little family. He has a wife, Juana and their precious little baby Coyotito. The start of the book is very idealic as we see their familial bliss and quiet peaceful life. They seem very happy and completely in love with their little baby and each other. From the very beginning Steinbeck talks about the music that Kino hears in his mind/heart, that accompanies the storyline like a soundtrack.
While they are gazing upon their baby in his little swinging box, they suddenly see a scorpian hanging from one of the ropes. This is another of Steinbeck's many gifts, I believe, creating extremely tension filled suspenseful moments that have you holding your breath. Before they can decide how to rid the rope of the scorpian, it falls into the crib and stings their son.
What follows is their attempt to find help for their baby, and they seek to gain the expertise of a very corrupt local (and only) doctor. Clearly they have no money, and therefore he has no interest in treating their son, whose arm is now swelling at an alarming rate.
Kino is then determined to find a way to pay the doctor, and they take their little boat and begin harvesting oysters in the hopes that one will reveal a pearl with which to pay the doctor.
Will they find a pearl to save their son?
As usual I do not want to include a complete summary of the novella, so you can go in fresh. There are PLENTY of places online to find a summary of the book if you want, as The Pearl is a classic and is many times chosen for classroom study.
What I can tell you is that I loved it. It completely enveloped me and carried me along this harrowing journey of innocence, despair, hope, greed and corruption. I felt my heart soar and sink with each passing page. The power of Steinbeck's writing is incredible, and I plan on immediately reading East of Eden now, and it will fit nicely into 3 of my challenges as well!
I hope you have a chance to read this, and anyone you love. It is such a powerful story and a testament that a book does not have to be large to be masterful.