Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
You would think that at some point, being such an avid reader, I would have read Of Mice and Men. And if not read, then you would assume that I at least know the story. Well, I am not sure how, but I didn't know that story. I really wish when I had chosen to read it, someone would have grabbed my hand and said "Are you sure you want to read that?"
Holy crap.....this is not a happy story!
Just as a summary, George and Lenny are two migrant workers who roam from town to town looking for work on fields. They are cousins, but Lenny was kicked in the head by a horse as a young child and has some developmental issues. He loves the feel of soft fabric and furs, but he is incredibly strong and this causes problems. He is constantly killing mice and puppies on accident, and in the most recent town, tried to feel the dress of a young girl. When she tried to get away, scared Lenny grabbed her and wouldn't let go, causing the townspeople to run him out of town. As you can tell, George is in for some trouble with Lenny.
The story, although incredibly sad, is one of love and friendship. George's life would be leaps and bounds better than what it currently is if he just walked away from Lenny. But George made a promise to his aunt, and at the end of the day, he loves Lenny too much. He understands that Lenny means no harm to anyone, despite the fact that his brute strength is far more than any others. He does everything in his power to keep the simple-minded Lenny in line and away from danger. But in a downed economy where food and money are scarce, George has very few options.
While this is an excellently written book of profound love, I am not sure I would ever recommend it (unless I knew someone who needed to be depressed for a few days).