Author got lost in the telling. Oct 23, 2009
Some have a good story and know how to tell it. Some have a good story and turn it into a bad one because they don't know how to tell a story. Some are so good at telling stories that they can turn a bad story into a good one. Some don't know what a good story is, so they tell a bad story thinking it's a good one. Some have a good story and know it's a good story and know how to tell a good story and still blow the project because they identify too closely with one or more characters (incidents) and wind up emphasizing the wrong incident (character).
One hesitates to say that Steinbeck should never have written about women. 'Of Mice and Men' (and a couple of his short stories) stand in the way of that particular assertion. But I will say without hesitation that Steinbeck should not have written about Kate. I don't know who she really was, because I am not a Steinbeck scholar and I'm too curious about other things to bother myself with him. But -- reading 'East of Eden' -- it's obvious that 'Kate' beat him like a gong while he knew her and he never fully recovered from the beating. He was scarred for life before they got through with each other.
The telling of this story was altogether too much for him. He was too close to it. He tried to make it into more than it was. He lost control in the middle of the telling, lapsed into some outrageous (even ridiculous) tirades about her multitudinous sins and depraved character and made an utter ass of himself in the process. It's no wonder she was able to beat him so.
I'll give him two stars on 'East of Eden:' one because it's a stinker and the other because he tried real hard to hammer it into a decent book. Too bad Kate got the better of him once again.