There was a guy at my high school who every year tried to get Of Mice & Men added to the reading list, & every year I prevented this by informing the teacher that she was more than welcome to add it, but I wouldn't read it because of an incident in my childhood, which my mom confirmed. So if you're reading this, Doug, here's why we never read it.
  1. A bit of background: my mom homeschooled me & my sisters, & every weekday morning from 9 to about 11, we would gather in her room & read various books aloud. Some were historical, some were religious, some were 'just for fun', & some were literature.
  2. When I was eight (8), my mom decided we should read Of Mice & Men by John Steinbeck because it's a 'classic'
    My sisters were 12 & 14
  3. Short recap: SPOILERS AHEAD
    Do I even need to give a spoiler warning for a decades-old book? Anyway, please know this is what I remember of the basic plot from reading it eighteen years ago, so a lot of this could be wrong. If you want a better recap, google it, but I'm not going to because I don't want this book staining my internet history.
  4. There are two main characters, Lenny & another man whose name I don't remember, so for the purpose of this recap we'll call him Jack. They're farmhands or ranch hands or cowboys or something. Idk, but I feel like they live in someone's barn.
  5. Lenny is mentally challenged in some way. Sweet but very slow. & big. Really big. Really strong. Doesn't know his own strength. Jack takes care of Lenny, looks out for him. They're best friends.
  6. I'm pretty sure at some point Lenny accidentally crushes a kitten while trying to cuddle it. I am positive Lenny accidentally breaks the neck of a young woman he may or may not have been (accidentally?????) sexually assaulting.
    If you don't know where this is going, you might think this is the worst thing in the book. YOU ARE WRONG.
  7. The young woman is the daughter of Jack & Lenny's boss? Or someone's fiancée? Idk, but the townspeople are mad & don't believe it was an accident, so they decide to lynch Lenny.
  8. Jack wants to protect Lenny, but he also wants to protect himself & not get lynched too. So he takes Lenny to a pond by the barn & tells him to look out at the water.
    & that's it. That's the end of the book. Jack shoots Lenny before the mob gets there & that's the end!
  10. You might be thinking, 'Wow, this does not sound like an appropriate book to read an eight-year-old!' & YOU ARE COMPLETELY RIGHT.
    To be fair, I don't think my mom remembered any of this when she decided to read it to her eight-year-old child. But still!
  11. But none of that - the dead kitten, the sexual assault, the dead girl, the dead Lenny - none of that is what seared this book in my brain as the most traumatic book of all time.
  12. Like I said earlier, I don't think my mom remembered the plot when she picked this book out. But as she started the final chapter, the end came back to her.
  13. And she started to cry.
  14. Not just 'got a little teary'. Full-on sobbing.
  15. Now, if you were anything like me, as a child the very worst, scariest, most awful thing that could happen was seeing your mother cry.
  16. And my mom was crying so hard she couldn't continue reading.
  17. But we still had three pages left, so someone had to finish it. So my mom handed it to my oldest sister, who never cried over anything.
  18. And my sister read all about the mob coming & Lenny looking out at the lake & Jack shooting Lenny in the back of the head in a monotone while my mom sobbed loudly on one end of the couch.
    It was horrifying.
  19. In conclusion: I will hate Of Mice & Men until I die!
    & if there is an afterlife, I will find John Steinbeck & punch him in the face for making my mom cry!