The Pearl was one of those books that were part of the school syllabus but it was only recently I picked up a copy at a second hand bookshop. For a long time, when trying to remember who wrote it, it seemed to be a Hemingway book and you forget that John Steinbeck is able to write about people in locations other than the Californian valleys.
You are introduced to Kino the fisherman and his wife Juana in a bush hut with a poor but idyllic life. Their baby is suspended from a basket and everything is going well until a scorpion climbs the rope leading to the child. Kino tries to get to it but the baby pulls the rope and it falls down and stings her. The father is a bit of a spare part and the mother acts swiftly to suck out the poison but then calls for the doctor, who nobody believes he will help them. Sure enough the doctor tells them that he has gone out after discovering they have no money and they are left with an ill child and no help.
What a start the sense of frustration is palpable and along with Kino your anger rises against those rich enough to live in luxury that will not help the poor.