i saw Dusty reading this and asked him what it was all about he said it was hard to say, it was about life and people and what a countertop looks like and what a place feels like and how people think or notthink at least i imagine that's what he said, its been a month or so he also said that Steinbeck was his favorite author he finished reading the book and then gave it to me i would say that Dusty is my friend, sure, why not.The Wayward Bus is about a bunch of people in postWW 2 america it features a pimply and testosteronefilled youth, a homely waitress, a smokin hot stripper, a conformist old executive his quietly manipulative wife their independent daughter, an angry old man, a war vet turned traveling salesman, a horrible and selfloathing wife and her husband a man at least that's how Steinbeck takes pains to describe him, repeatedly what is a man? have i met one? anyway, all these people meet up at a diner and most of them get on a bus together, and that's the novel The Wayward Bus is about Wayward People orspecifically, people who are in transition or who want to be in transition or who are experiencing a moment in their lives where transition could potentially happen, if they let it if that transition is the right thing to do what is the right thing to do? i don't know.Dusty is my BIL's younger brother he seems to always be in transition what is he doing right now? i don't know i see him during the Christmas holidays, we usually crash in my sister's living room, we watch our nephews open gifts, we drink some drinks, we have Christmas dinner together, we go our separate ways before Christmas i usually take him and the rest of the family out to a really nice dinner that's my Christmas gift to them all it is the kind of anonymous 'expensive' gift that is very easy for a bachelor like myself to give all it requires is a lot of money and very little thought Dusty gives me good gifts for Christmas he thinks about his gifts; they are meaningful, and personally meaningful to me he has the gift of giving thoughtful gifts i think i used to have that gift as well did i lose it?Steinbeck is a brilliant writer, let's just get that out of the way his prose is genuinely amazing cliche time: he is a painter using words his writing absorbed me but a depressing kind of absorbing he describes these characters inside and out, you know what they look like and how they will react in a given situation he contextualizes them he supplies the macro and the micro he beautifully describes these characters' surroundings, natural or manmade, the history of a particular setting, what it looks and smells and feels like, the resonance of a place he moves from that to what a countertop looks like, a small and underfurnished room, a bus (lots lots of bus!), a cave, a barn, an abandoned house my God, the man describes the inner life of a fly right before it is crushed! the novel feels both big and small he gets into these characters' heads, he shows the why and the how and the whatif of their waywardness, their possible and impossible transitions and journeys he makes you know them even the angry old man even he gets his reason why, his context, his pain fear longing, even he is made whole for the reader for some readers, he makes you love them, or at least able to empathize with them but not for this reader thanks to Steinbeck, i know them i guess but empathize? probably not they seem to exist solely to carry out the stereotypical functions of their gender, to obsess about sex, about power, to dream of freedom, to dream big and then act small i don't like these characters are lives really so small? maybe it is a smallness in me that refuses to recognize their needs and desires as my own, to dismiss them as stereotypes i suppose so yeah, Steinbeck is a brilliant writer he makes me understand these characters enough to make this reader's skin crawl at the thought of them.Dusty is in the military sorta he's out now but still connected he's young and handsome so they feature him in videos on youtube where he explains how the military counters terrorist threats and how to use various weapons Dusty has been in Iraq Dusty is a Buddhist i think he appreciates eastern philosophies and dislikes material possessions and wants to work with his hands, preferably in nature i don't know if he has Big Goals in his life but he is a thinker he thinks and then he switches up his life then he thinks again, and switches it all up again he is a Wayward Bus kinda guy.i am not a Wayward Bus kinda guy this is an incredible book in many ways but i did not connect with it i don't appreciate its take on human nature it depressed me, these characters depressed me sometimes i look at things like The Wayward Bus and am reminded that i may have smarts but i don't think i have a lot of depth i am content and usually just want to be left alone i'm not Wayward, i'm the opposite, i'm here to stay i look at these characters and sometimes they are like bugs to me, like that fly getting crushed in that cake Dusty looks at them and he sees real people he empathizes with them, their situation resonates with him, he connects why is that? i look at Dusty and i see a real person don't i? what is a real person anyway.despite all the wayward and meandering existential angst above, i think this is a brilliant book you should read it i loved it and yet i didn't like it very much you can love something without liking it, right? Oh my, this is dripping in symbolism—but I like it I like it a lot! It’s to be picked up when you’re in a mood for analyzing what characters and their actions figuratively and metaphorically represent There isbeing said than that on the surface Figuring out the symbolism is fun.Start by glancing at the title What is the significance of the word wayward? Is it not people that are usually referred to as being wayward? Definition of wayward: 1 Following one's own capricious, wanton, or depraved inclinations ungovernable a wayward child 2 Following no clear principle or law unpredictable 3 Opposite to what is desired or expected.Here it is the bus as well as the passengers aboard that are wayward! I could go through the book pointing out the symbols, but I am not going to do that Why? The enjoyment derived is at its maximum when you do this yourself Each reader will latch on to those symbols most meaningful to themselves Understanding what makes a person tick and why each behaves as they do is what intrigues me Religious connotations, moral standards, the situation in America after the Second World War and political leanings are other issues on which the book could be said to pivot and for which symbols are drawn Steinbeck throws at readers a group of individuals, none of whom are attractive One’s immediate reaction is to wonder why one should care about these schmucks?! None are exceptional; they are losers of the ordinary, common type Steinbeck shows us there isto each and every one of them What we consider uninteresting, ordinary losers at the start have by the book’s end become individuals each with their own identity, backstory, internal conflict and reason for interest You do not read this book for its plot You read it to study the characters Here they are sorted into two groups: Residents at Rebel Corners, a combined car repair shop, convenience store and food counter in California’s Salinas Valley It is here where the eponymous bus starts and returns—transporting passengers to San Juan de la Cruz where large Greyhound buses await *Juan Chicoy—an IrishMexican car repair mechanic and bus driver Runs Rebel Corners with his wife.*Alice Chicoy—Juan’s wife, a misogynist She is an angry woman, disappointed and depressed, has a tendency to turn to drink.*Norma—the current waitress at the food counter There is a steady stream of waitresses since Alice is difficult to get along with Norma fantasizes about Hollywood and Clark Gable.*Ed Carson—take one guess why he is called Pimples Go a step further—how would you feel if that were your nickname?! There is quite a bitto his story He is constantly munching on food He yearns to be called Kit after the famed Kit Carson! He is Juan's assistant mechanic Passengers on the bus on the day of the story: These are in addition to Juan, Norma and Pimples.*Elliott Prichard—a married, selfimportant businessman.*Bernice Pritchard—Elliott’s benign, selfeffacing wife.*Mildred Pritchard—their collegeaged daughter (The Pritchards are on a vacation trip to Mexico, but each has a different explanation for why the trip is taken Their expectations vary too.)*Ernest Horton— a war veteran employed as a travelling salesman of novelty goods Steinbeck has down pat how such salesmen behave One cannot help but laugh.*Mr Van Buren—an opinionated, elderly man who warns of the danger of an imminent flood You say one thing, he will say the opposite!* ”A blonde”—known as Camille Oaks She is pretty, appealingly dressed and exudes a sexual allure Norma and Mildred admire her for what she knows and they do not, which is to say her experience and knowledge of men She knows how to wrap men around her finger I appreciate the book’s realism One observes where the characters start and their respective situation at the book’s end There is the possibility that life may improve for some For others, the situation looks grim I like the spread The prose is simple and crisp The language used and the jargon in the dialogue reflect America in the late forties, after the war The book was first published in 1947.Richard Poe narrates the audiobook very well—four stars for the narration Every word spoken is clear and easy to decipher The tempo is not rushed One recognizes that he is an old hand at reading books He knows his trade He is an American actor, has worked in movies, on television and on Broadway He was born in California, which is appropriate here.I recommend this to those who enjoy books focusing on character portrayal In my opinion, it is a book by Steinbeck worthy of higher acclaim than it has received.************************ Steinbeck’s books in order of preference :*Of Mice and Men 5 stars*The Grapes of Wrath 5 stars*In Dubious Battle 4 stars*The Wayward Bus 4 stars*Travels with Charley: In Search of America 4 stars*The Moon Is Down 4 stars*Cannery Row 4 stars*The Winter of Our Discontent 3 stars*A Russian Journal 3 stars*The Pearl 3 stars*Sweet Thursday 2 stars*East of Eden 2 stars*To a God Unknown TBR*Once There Was a War TBR*The Red Pony TBR*The Pastures of Heaven TBR The Wayward Bus isn’t the best novel in John Steinbeck’s oeuvre but it is easy and pleasant to read.Man is a transitory being, and life is a journey, and we all ride in the same huge bus…Louie went back toward the front His eyes had caught a girl coming in from the street She was carrying a suitcase All in one flash Louie caught her A dish! A dish like that he wanted to ride in a seat just behind his own raised driver’s chair He could watch her in the rearview mirror and find out about her Maybe she lived somewhere on his route Louie had plenty of adventures that started like this.Life gives promises and life takes its promises away…People meet, people part… Passengers contemplate their own problems and the diver has his own troubles… The back road around the San Ysidro River bend was a very old road, no one knew how old It was true that the stage coaches had used it, and men on horseback In the dry seasons the cattle had been driven over it to the river, where they could lie in the willows during the heat of the day and drink from holes dug in the river bed The old road was simply a slice of country, uncultivated to start, marked only by wheel ruts and pounded by horses’ hoofs In the summer a heavy cloud of dust arose from its surface when a wagon went by, and in winter, pastelike mud spurted from under horses’ feet Gradually the road became scooped out so that it was lower than the fields through which it traveled, and this made it a long lake of standing water in the winter, sometimes very deep.Sometimes the bus we ride turns wayward and then a lot of adventures and misadventures wait for us right ahead… The Wayward Bus was John Steinbeck's followup to his Pulitzer Prize winner The Grapes of Wrath It most certainly suffered for it Published in 1947, readers had waited eight years for a new novel from Steinbeck, who set the Joads on the road to California in 1939 and wouldn't publish his next novel until 1952, when he dispatched Adam Trask west to meet his destiny in East of Eden Readers seem to have let The Wayward Bus fall into a crease on the map between the two novels, but I was absolutely enthralled by it Unfolding over a twentyfour hour period, it's a measured but acute study of characters trying to get away from themselves.The story begins at a crossroads fortytwo miles south of San Ysidro, California where Steinbeck's history and imagination are shaken up in ways that could not be anything other than delightful to the reader.Rebel Corners got its name in 1862 It is said that a family named Blanken kept a smithy at the crossroads The Blankens and their soninlaw were poor, ignorant, proud, and violent Kentuckians Having no furniture and no property, they brought what they had with them from the Easttheir prejudices and their politics Having no slaves, they were ready, nevertheless, to sell their lives for the free principle of slavery When the war began, the Blankens discussed traveling back across the measureless West to fight for the Confederacy But it was a long way and they had crossed once, and it was too far Thus it was that in a California which was preponderantly for the North, the Blankens seceded a hundred and sixty acres and a blacksmith shop from the Union and joined Blanken Corners to the Confederacy It is also said that they dug trenches and cut rifle slits in the blacksmith shop to defend the rebellious island from the hated Yankees And the Yankees, who were mostly Mexicans and Germans and Irish and Chinese, far from attacking the Blankens, were rather proud of them The Blankens had never lived so well, for the enemy brought chickens and eggs and pork sausage in slaughter time, because everyone thought that, regardless of the cause, such courage should be recognized Their place took the name Rebel Corners and has kept it to this day.A general store/ diner/ service station has been built on Rebel Corners amid the shade of great white oaks that have stood for generations The establishment is owned and operated by Juan Chicoy and his wife Alice Some fifty years old, Juan is a handsome man, part Mexican and part Irish From the hours of tenthirty to four, Juan drives an old fourcylinder bus lovingly known as Sweetheart between Rebel Corners and San Juan de la Cruz, where passengers dropped off at his crossroads can be picked by another Greyhound bus to points north or south Alice runs the diner and has become increasingly nervous as she ages, anxious that her husband might one day leave her.A busted transmission on Sweetheart has stranded several passengers bound for San Juan de la Cruz at the crossroads until morning, where they stay as guests of the Chicoys and their two employees Juan's apprentice is a sugar loving layabout with an unfortunate case of acne and the name to go with it: Pimples Carson Norma is the waitress, a shy and nubile girl who writes love letters to Clark Gable and fantasizes about moving to Hollywood When Alice wakes up evennervous than usual and is caught rifling through Norma's letters, the waitress quits She boards the bus for San Juan de la Cruz with the other passengers: Elliot Pritchard is vicepresident of a midsize corporation taking his family on a trip to Mexico against his will Elliot is a proliferate joiner who finds himself intimidated by strangers who don't belong to his company, club, church or political party or their prescribed way of thinking Bernice Pritchard imagines every setback on the trip as a potential episode she can impress her friends with She keeps her husband and daughter in line by suffering from stress related headaches when she feels she needs to Mildred Pritchard is a studentathlete proud of the secrets she keeps from her parents, namely the two lovers she's taken while away at college She is sexually attracted to Juan and wonders if her parents might drop dead if they only knew.Mildred was looking at Juan, fascinated There was something in this dark man with his strange warm eyes that moved her She felt drawn to him She wanted to attract his attention, his special attention, to herself She had thrown back her shoulders so that her breasts were lifted Why did you leave Mexico? she asked, and she took off her glasses so that when he answered he would see her without them She leaned on the table, and put her forefinger to the corner of her left eye, and pulled the sin and eyelid backward This changed the focus of her eye She could see his faceclearly that way It also gave her eyes a long and languorous shape, and her eyes were beautiful Ernest Horton is a war veteran who works as a traveling salesman for a novelties company Energetic and bright, his approval becomes very important to Mr Pritchard, who is alarmed when the young man fails to see as much hope in the future as the business executive does Mr Van Brunt is a misanthrope who uses his knowledge of their route, their local geography and the weather to contradict Juan at every opportunity Van Brunt has a court date he wishes to keep and makes sure everyone knows it He later approaches Mildred to tell her that her skirt is showing A mysterious blonde reveals her name to be Camille Oaks, a dental nurse on her way to Los Angeles Camille is a stripper whose constitution and genetic gifts have given her certain powers over men She recognizes Mr Pritchard from one the stag parties she worked and uses Norma in an attempt to keep him and the other male passengers from trying to get her alone.Steinbeck puts these characters in motion on the highway to San Juan de la Cruz, where a cloudburst above Pine Canyon has raised the San Ysidro River up to a foot an hour Juan stops the bus at Breed's Service Station, where Mr and Mrs Breed serve as the unofficial custodians of the bridge over the river Juan doesn't know if the bus can make it safely across and puts their options up for a vote: take their chances on an unsafe bridge, turn back to Rebel Corners, or try their luck with an old stage road that goes up the side of the mountain The old road is the winner.In The Wayward Bus, Steinbeck goes considerable lengths to make the bus into a character as well.Hanging from the top of the windshield were the penates: a baby's shoethat's for protection, fo the stumbling feet of a baby require the constant caution and aid of God; and a tiny boxing gloveand that's for power, the power of the fist on the driving forearm, the drive of the piston pushing its connecting rod, the power of person as responsible and proud individual There hung also on the windshield a little plastic kewpie doll with a cerise and green ostrichfeather headdress and provocative sarong And this was for the pleasures of the flesh and of the eye, of the nose, of the ear When the bus was in motion these hanging items spun and jerked and swayed in front of the driver's eye.Any apocalyptic science fiction novel dealing with a band of survivors as they make their way across inhospitable territory is essentially The Wayward Bus The only elements missing here are zombies and attacks John Stienbeck tells stories like a man who's traveled far, loved and lusted deeply, drank and fought fiercely, and when he settled down, opened up a bookstore His novels are like a leather bound books he's pulling off a shelf, blowing dust off and reading They start with history that comes to life with action and wit and pathos and sets the stage for his characters, all of whom I felt like I've met.Another thing I noted in this novel is how Steinbeck is fearless in exploring the darker or seemlier side of nearly all of his characters Some of them let their demons get the better of them with wildly inappropriate behavior alcoholism, sexual abuse, emotional blackmail while others feel those genies stirring in the lamp and clamp the lid on tight It probably should go without saying at this point Steinbeck is one America's great authors but there isn't a Mary Sue lurking her perfect head anywhere in this book If there's anyone approaching a central character, it's Juan Chicoy, and he comes right out and tells one of his passengers what's on his mind:Sure, it's all right He leaned his arms on the counter and spoke confidentially I get fed up sometimes I drive that damn bus back and forth and back and forth Sometimes I'd like to take and just head for the hills I read about a ferryboat captain in New York who just headed out to sea one day and they never heard from him again Maybe he sunk and maybe he's tied up on an island some place I understand that man.I understand that Steinbeck is my favorite author and remains so after reading this novel. My favorite present was when I was 15 or 16 A Christmas There were clothes and things But my brother wrapped two paperback books for me: The Catcher in the Rye and The Grapes of Wrath Two days later I was an addict.I was also a completist Down went the other Salingers quickly And Steinbeck? Well, he was God I had read maybe a dozen orof his books before Travels with Charley and I had my moment of doubt What kind of man owns a poodle?And so there was a hiatus, if you can call forty years a 'hiatus' What would an old favorite be like after all these years? Unlikeable people are at a crossroads, figuratively in their lives, and literally at Rebel Corners, an American crossroads where you have to be if you want to go somewhere else It's a 1950's movie, just before color The players are of a type, but they don't wear well now, oddlydated than Dickens.Maybe like Vonnegut, you have to read Steinbeck at a certain age of life I'll retell the Pancho Villa story:He used to tell one about Pancho Villa He said a poor woman came to Villa and said 'You have shot my husband and now I and the little ones will starve.' Well, Villa had plenty of money then He had the presses and he was printing his own He turned to his treasurer and said, 'Roll out five kilos of twentypeso bills for this poor woman.' He wasn't even counting it, he had so much So they did and they tied the bills together with wire and that woman went out Well, then a sergeant said to Villa, 'There was a mistake, my general We did not shoot that woman's husband He got drunk and we put him in jail.' Then Pancho Villa said, 'Go immediately and shoot him We cannot disappoint that poor woman.' A husband and wife are artificially polite A hired hand is ravaged by pimples and desire A waitress has Hollywood dreams A daughter hides a life as other lives are hidden from her A malcontent A returning veteran A woman with a fake name and easy way about her that changes every man aboard Alice stays behind and goes all Elizabeth Taylor drunk (although Joan Collins plays her in the movie) And her husband Juan, Mexican and Irish, drives the bus, a heathen making bets with a plastic Virgin of Guadalupe, to flee or stay One of the passengers, Norma, came to the defense of 'Camille'.I hit him, she said I hit him because he said you were a tramp.Camille looked quickly away She stared across the valley where the last of the sun was disappearing behind the mountains and she rubbed her cheek with her hand Her eyes were dull And she forced them to take on life and she forced them to smile and she gave the smile to Norma.Look, kid, she said You'll just have to believe this until you find out for yourself everybody's a tramp some time or other Everybody And the worst tramps of all are the ones that call it something else We get tossed together We act We get by, but we're plagued with doubts and dreams Some know; some never will Some lie to others; some to ourselves It's bleak, a black and white film Memorable Read it before it turns sepia. A group of bus company employees and passengers come together at a rest stop and on the bus Each has a dream for his or her life that is not coinciding with reality The final bus ride turns into a seething broth of frustration and sexual assault If any of this occurred today, the bus company would have so many law suits that it would never recover, but this was in the 1940s so the women just straightened their skirts and soldiered on The author’s character sketches were vivid and insightful, but the book switched points of view too much It felt like collection of related short stories 3.5 stars John Steinbeck is one of my favourite writers The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, East of Eden masterpieces all Even his less “important” novels like Cannery Row and its sequel Sweet Thursday, as well as his nonfiction book, Travels with Charley, where he goes on an RV tour of America with his poodle Charley, are superb.He’s written some stinkers too though The Red Pony and The Short Reign of Pippin IV are both tedious and Tortilla Flat is just ghastly Unfortunately The Wayward Bus is one of the latter Set in postwar America, a bus breaks down in a rural Californian pitstop so the passengers hunker down in the cafe for the night They get into the bus in the morning, it breaks down again, and the novel’s over Why… Steinbeck’s writing is still good as always I could very clearly see everything he described and the characters are wellwritten but I wish the novel had a point! I guess it’s about the characters who are all at change moments in their “wayward” lives or something? Maybe the meandering style is meant to be reflective of the theme? Maybe the cast are a microcosm of American society in the midst of a transformative state following the Second World War, on their way to becoming something else? It still doesn’t make the book any less dull to read The Wayward Bus is one of Steinbeck’s minor works for a reason: it doesn’t seem to have a point and if it does it doesn’t express it either strongly or memorably I was very bored for most of the novel which is disappointing as Steinbeck usually produces good stuff I don’t know who this book would appeal to but I’d say even Steinbeck fans needn’t bother with it. I should put this under poetry I should put all Steinbeck under poetry.One of the unfortunate victims of teaching (and especially student teaching) are the books we seek to read outside of scouring the curriculum dayin and dayout I started this sorry soul about two months ago, and even though my heart swelled each time I picked it up, I was lucky to get a page in between finishing lesson planning at night and passing out as soon as my head hit the pillow GAH! And so, out of defiance of getting ahead on JC as well as insomnia that is once again rattling my aching brain and soul, I let this book take me until 3 AM when I finally finished it once and for all Can I get an AMEN?And up until about where I picked it up last nightabout 60 pages from the endI liked it a whole lot I was prepared to give it four stars, but I realized when I picked it up again last night that I had hit the story's climax, and everything else came tumbling down in its brilliance and humanity It's exactly the kind of book I like It spans the course of one single day; I love that kind of real time in a book And really, it's all about people waiting around for a bus in Steinbeck's good old late 1940s Californiathat's about it So ultimately this is a book solely concerned with characterization, and it's obvious that Steinbeck deeply loved every single one Every character was deeply felt, deeply created; I effortlessly knew them all And it's all about sex, reminding us how fundamentally hilarious and fundamentally animal a game it really just is Clark Gable, Mother Mahoney's HomeBaked Pies, whisky, and lipstick I also realized at the end that Woody Allen got the premise to every one of his movies through this book, which still allows me to enjoy Allen, but it makes me adore Steinbeck, swear my allegiance further.That's it My brain's fried Go read a book for your ol' pal, Lindsay. In his first novel to follow the publication of his enormous success, The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck’s vision comes to life in this imaginative and unsentimental chronicle of a bus traveling California’s back roads, transporting the lost and the lonely, the good and the greedy, the stupid and the scheming, the beautiful and the vicious away from their shattered dreams and, possibly, toward the promise of the future This edition features an introduction by Gary Scharnhorst Brilliant! Reading Steinbeck is like reading a perfect character study The talent here is that it's a character study of 10 different characters in a novel of only 260 pages And it's one of those rare occasions where an omniscient third person point of view coupled with an intrusive narrator in anything but annoying; in fact, Steinbeck couldn't have possibly achieved this level of complex characterisation in so little space otherwise I came across a lot of reviews that say nothing much happens in the novel, if plot is what is being referred to, then that's true; but to claim such an overarching generalisation is ridiculous because every line of dialogue, every thought and every action is representative of this group of characters' emotional turmoils and social anxieties, their needs and dreams, all bubbling up as they are forced to interact together in an otherwise unusual situation What a lovely read to kickstart 2016!