Sequel to 'Cannery Row' this may be, but this is an entirely different book that we're dealing with.
What I missed most in 'Sweet Thursday' that had been present in 'Cannery Row' were the beautiful passages of nature writing. We still have Doc visiting the tidal fields, but there's no magic anymore. Aside from such lyrical musings on the perfect days of the title, there's nothing like it to be found. Instead of the place we get the people; shoddy, post-war versions of people.
OK, so that may come off as a bit harsh, I did enjoy this book. I enjoyed it and liked it in the same manner that I enjoy certain romantic comedies (because that is what this is), they pass the time, there are cute scenes and simple misunderstandings, but there isn't much to sink your teeth into. I just could not mesh the versions of Doc or Hazel here into the versions present here. The new characters, Joseph and Mary Rivas (one person), Fauna, and Suzy get great set-ups, but there isn't enough to build them up.
Steinbeck was a more than capable writer, I just don't see how such a perfect, accidental micro-universe like 'Cannery Row' needed a sequel at all. My advice is to treat this as a standalone Steinbeck novel that happens to have a town of the same name and some similar characters within it. You'll like it better.
And damn it, I miss my kitty tea parties with Mrs. Talbot.
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