Reviews of Sweet Thursday (1954)
Review by branko (2003-07-20)
This book is more somber than its predecessor. The author is in a reflective mood and more present than in Cannery Row; the story playes after the war, and some of the main characters have not made it back in one piece; and Doc starts to feel the loneliness weighing heavy on him.
Yet, this book contains possibly the funniest scene in the work of Steinbeck. Lee Chong has packed up and sold the store to a fellow with the unlikely name of Joseph and Mary Rivas, a man who lives on the wrong side of the law, not by habit, but because to him it's the more logical life style. When he is introduced to chess, he cannot believe people would play a game just for the challenge. He is looking for the 'angle'.
J&M's history is quickly retold, including the scene in which he baffled the Los Angeles police for a long time by growing marihuana under their noses. Priceless.
END OF SPOILER ALERT
I feel this novel is more pretentious than Cannery Row (without being able to deliver), and that instead of delving deeper into the main characters, the author has made them into slight charicatures of themselves. That is why I value it slightly below Cannery Row.