I’d like to think that one day some of the young people who read Anne Cassidy’s Thicker Than Water will come across Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men; either the book, or more likely, the film. And then they’ll think, ‘oh that’s rather like Thicker Than Water.’
Because it is. For her most recent Barrington Stoke book Anne wanted to write a modern take on the book she’s always loved. And it’s surprising how much you can write something that is the same but also quite different.
We have George and Lennie, who are moving between south English towns, from Brighton to Hastings, looking for work, and George hoping that this time Lennie will behave and not cause trouble. Just like in Steinbeck’s book this George looks out for his large, but simple, friend Lennie.
This story is set today, with mobile phones and things, and George works as a DJ. Or tries to, when Lennie will allow.
It’s a beautiful story. Violent, yes, but there is so much love. If you know Steinbeck you will know how it ends. If not, I’m guessing the ending will come as a shock to young readers. It’s what makes this book so grown-up, and a perfect homage to John Steinbeck.