And yet another used book fair find.
Both the author biography and this Goodreads review are worth reading, as is the book itself. I finished this story more than a month ago; so, since the following quote from Craig Mortensen sums it up so well, I simply refuse to tax my brain putting it into my own words.
Each vignette is a separate episode, each episode evoking questions or experiences common to us all. When taken together, the collage of vignettes portrays the universal human experience. Though Saroyan focuses on the stark realities of life, his characters have a goodness, hope, and nobility about them and the virtues of humanity are extolled.
There's a 1943 film by the same name, often believed to be based on Saroyan's book. Apparently, however, he wrote the screenplay first and, when fired from the project, quickly wrote and published the novel before the film was released.
That'll teach 'em!
Because this story is chock full of deep monologues that I didn't really follow (being honest here), I'll need to read it again sometime to ascertain whether a) anything intelligent is even being said, and b) this intelligence is necessarily virtuous. That said, had I discovered this story a dozen years ago, I undoubtedly would have read it aloud to my kids. And maybe more than once.
So there you have it.