I'm not really into classics. I only decided to read East of Eden based on Oprah's past selections. From She's Come Undone to The Song of Solomon, all of the previous selections have in some way changed my life.
After 200 pages, I wasn't quite sure why this was the book that brought the Book Club back. In the middle of the book, I found myself in a strange love affair. I couldn't put the book down. It became my companion. I took it with me to bed, to the hair salon, in the car, to the park, to dinner. ... I read this book at every available moment. By the time that I read the last page, I knew why it was the "chosen" book. I've never cried after reading a book. After the last page, I sat and cried and cried and cried. It was as if Mr. Steinbeck reached down and touched my soul. He knew. He knew me. I struggled with understanding how a white, middle-aged man could understand my story.
I found myself taking notes! I couldn't believe it. I took notes because I didn't want to forget the main points. He made me realize that there's human in all of us. "Thou mayest." Who knew? Just saying these two words gave me freedom. If there 's the freedom to choose, then the power is within me. Then there was the lesson in "seeing someone that you've created versus really seeing that person." And, there was the relationship between Aron and Abra. Having experienced a similar relationship, I didn't realize the consequences of having someone create the perfect image of me that I could never measure up to. My mind is still racing from having read this amazing piece of art. There are so many questions that I would love to ask Mr. Steinbeck. What was the purpose of Mr. Lee? Why was Cathy (Kate) portrayed as less than human? Were these stories/characters based on any of his personal experiences? I can't wait for the show and the discussion. I would love to attend the show that discusses the book or even the road trip. Thank you, Oprah, for welcoming me to the world of classics. Now, I understand why there are classics and then there are books. I can't wait for the next one.
Printed from Oprah.com on Friday, December 6, 2013