Cannery Row is like a View-Master™ of Steinbeck's best. You remember the View-Master, right? Anyway, in Cannery Row you get these glimpses of wonderful scenes, memorable characters, breathtaking settings, humor and heartbreak, but they're just glimpses, and they're all just a bit out of focus. It's classic Steinbeck, and I love it for that, but I wasn't able to connect with the story as much as I'd hoped to.
Cannery Row was adapted twice for screen. Once in 1982, starring Nick Nolte, and prior to that, in 1950, starring a young Tweety Bird. I have been told that the 1950 version is the more accurate of the two, but I have not been able to personally verify this.