Book Review: The Pearl

9:00:00 AM

Summary from Goodreads: Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a poor diver, gathering pearls from the gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the kings of Spain and now provide Kino, Juana, and their infant son with meager subsistence. Then, on a day like any other, Kino emerges from the sea with a pearl as large as a sea gull's egg, as "perfect as the moon." With the pearl come Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a poor diver, gathering pearls from the gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the kings of Spain and now provide Kino, Juana, and their infant son with meager subsistence. Then, on a day like any other, Kino emerges from the sea with a pearl as large as a sea gull's egg, as "perfect as the moon." With the pearl comes hope, the promise of comfort and of security....


A story of classic simplicity, based on a Mexican folktale, The Pearl explores the secrets of man's nature, greed, the darkest depths of evil, and the luminous possibilities of love.

My Thoughts: I am ashamed of my junior high self for thinking this story was lame (although I don’t think it's entirely my fault, but alas, that is a rant for another time). Now that I have read it again as an adult as part of my book club I have loved it. Steinbeck is able to tell a story with so many levels in so few pages. I loved reading it from a historical perspective, picking out all the parts dealing with the affects of colonialism on locals and settlers. I loved reading it from a religious perspective and seeing the ways blind faith can corrupt, even when that faith is mixed with old native traditions. I loved reading it from a perspective of community watching as friends that have always said they will celebrate each other’s blessings become jealous and come apart. Then there is the obvious perspective of the power of wealth to corrupt, which was all I saw as a junior high student. No matter which of the many possible perspectives a reader brings to this story, there is so much to think about and to talk about. This was a great choice for a book club! I give this short story a 5 out of  stars. It really lives up to the phrase of ‘short and to the point’.

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