Not my favorite Steinbeck so far, but I did like it. Funny and largely episodic. I struggled with the pacing because there were no hooks--no over arching mystery to pull me along. I struggled to differentiate between many of the characters because they were similar with common traits, namely they were a likable group of wino ne're do wells that were constantly finding trouble. I just finished Cannery Row not long ago, and I have to say I felt that it was a similar group of characters except better. However, the last two chapters add another half star to my rating because some of Steinbeck's lines were pure magic. Suddenly I cared. Suddenly I was flying through the pages to see what would happen. I just wish the rest of the book could have been that way.
3 1/2 stars. I look forward to seeing what else John Steinbeck has up his sleeve.