From a Croation fellow at Amazon.com ~
"Oil!" is a fast-paced, lively and colorful story. Although Sinclair uses it to preach his political views, it is nevertheless a good piece of literature and an interesting historical testimony to the era in which it was written. Another striking thing is how Sinclair's descriptions of corporate manipulations tend to mirror very recent events. Interesting also is that Sinclair uses one of the oldest cliches in American literature, the coming-of-age story, as the vehicle for this epic; at the same time, there are indications that Sinclair seems to mock this manner of story-telling - from the main character's rather silly nick-name, "Bunny" to his perennial inability to make up his mind about where he wants to go with his life, i.e. he never really 'comes of age.' Other reviewers have noted Sinclair's apparently naive promotion of socialism/communism/the Bolsheviks, which is a valid criticism, although to me it seemed more a case of the author throwing out ideas to provoke readers into thinking rather than an attempt to persuade them. In this sense, his use of the family of a wealthy California oil baron as the main protagonists is quite telling: although Sinclair does take the opportunity to highlight the hypocrisy and greed of the moneyed classes, he also makes a genuine attempt to portray them as real people rather than just grotesque caricatures.
~ Apparently Oil! also places large emphasis on the father-son relationship. Between that, coming of age, and a funny nickname, this seems perfect for Paul.