Review of “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

Title: Fahrenheit 451
Author: Ray Bradbury
Series: –
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 358
Published: 1953, Ballantine Books
My Grade: 2 out of 5 phoenixes

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television ‘family’. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people did not live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.

MY REVIEW

I have had this book on my priority to read list for quite some time now but have been postponing reading it until I really felt like it. I got in a classics mode after finishing Ready Player One and thought this might be a good read next since it is coming out as a movie later this year. I tend to move books up on my to-read list when I learn that they are being converted to the screen. However, I am disappointed. Maybe disappointment is the wrong word. Perplexed perhaps as to why this became a classic is more accurate. I strongly like the idea of this dystopian future where books are illegal and firemen start fires instead of putting them out. But it was just too weird for me to understand why it got so big.

One reason why I didn’t like it, might be because I am part of this problem Bradbury describes. And that is one scary thought! And nothing I can’t really help either. In Bradbury’s world it was decided that the free thought was what made everyone depressed and the world a bad place. By reading, everyone was more aware of the world and all the sadness and bad things in it. Why read about things that aren’t real? Why read about things that can lead to depression and suicide? Why read at all when you can surround yourself with screens as walls that contain your “happy family” who tells you how to be and live. How to be controlled. It really reminded me of 1984 by Orwell. This could have been the first stage to that extreme controlled big brother society. Anyway, where I come into this whole scary scenery is that I am controlled by what I read. I do read. I read a lot and I am proud of it. But I read as my leisure time. I don’t watch TV, I much more prefer to read and have the world grow in my head instead of just being an image projected there. I can read on the bus with tons of people around me, sure I have music in my ears, but I can read and understand what I am reading without really thinking about what the meaning of it all is. That is how books nowadays are written. And I guess that can kind of compare to the braindead people in Fahrenheit 451 where they do the easy thing where the least amount of brainpower is needed, something leisurely. Now when I wrote that theory down, it sounds stupid, I might not be the person who discards all books to watch the walls, but many others today sure are.

The real problem with what I just wrote I think comes down to this: It is an old book. It is written in a different way from books are nowadays. I get the feeling that back then, it was as important how it was written as what the text was actually saying. And I just don’t see how that is an entertaining text where you don’t even understand the meaning behind the words. How am I supposed to get a world in my head when nothing makes any sense? When so many paradoxes are used to described the story, when there are more metaphors describing every action? Perhaps if you spent some time analyzing the text every other page or so you might understand and get the deep meanings behind every word. But like I said, I like to read leisurely, so this was clearly not for me. I might be the wrong person to write this review then?

More things that bothered me, the dialogues. Extremely weird and didn’t make any sense at all. Like they randomly took thoughts from their heads while watching the big screens and throwing them at each other where they did not quite fitted. Was it because they were more real than any other dialogue in a book because all the characters usually always says the perfect thing?

 

Last but not least, the ending. I got the feeling from it, but it was just so strange that I had to read it several times to make sure that I wasn’t hallucinating or something while reading it. Super weird.

I have my idea of what a good book is. I know what types of books I like, and even if I feel like being a little cultivated every now and then with something from the row of books behind my favorites, I rarely get this disappointed. Yet, I don’t regret reading it But I did expect more. I have now made myself a personal opinion about another classic. Maybe next time I will go even further back in time and finally read something of Jules Verne?

Fahrenheit 451 gets a 2 out of 5,  it was a book which I didn’t enjoy very much, but I don’t really regret reading it either.

Review of “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding

Lord of the Flies - [William Golding]Title: Lord of the Flies
Author: William Golding
Series: –
Genre: Fiction, Classic
Pages: 205
Published: 1954
My Grade: 4 out of 5 smoke detectors

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

When a plane crashes on a remote island, a small group of schoolboys are the sole survivors. From the prophetic Simon and virtuous Ralph to the lovable Piggy and brutish Jack, each of the boys attempts to establish control as the reality – and brutal savagery – of their situation sets in.

The boys’ struggle to find a way of existing in a community with no fixed boundaries invites readers to evaluate the concepts involved in social and political constructs and moral frameworks. Ideas of community, leadership, and the rule of law are called into question as the reader has to consider who has a right to power, why, and what the consequences of the acquisition of power may be. Often compared to Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies also represents a coming-of-age story of innocence lost.

 

MY REVIEW

I am surprised at why I didn’t read this one in school many many years ago. Doesn’t everyone read Lord of the Flies in school and have to write analyses on what the deeper meaning of the book is? I didn’t and therefore felt that I really should read this and see why it is so loved by teachers. I definitely see why it is considered to be a classic. And it is most definitely a book that fits right in with today’s societal problems. The main story of young boys getting stranded on a deserted island is an exciting story in itself. It is an intriguing scenario where most people can only imagine what it would be like, what they would do and what their new personalities would develop into. I honestly felt uneasy at several points in the story and I also caught myself making faces on the train on my way to and from work. It is a brutal story and it is hard to imagine why some of the 12 year-old boys could cmpletely change personalities and become violent-loving tyrants. It is really sad. The sides, represented by the rule-abiding nice-guy Ralph and the bloodlusting hunter Jack, can be compared to society. Ralph stands for politics and democracy and only tries to do what’s best for everyone, keeping the fire alive so a ship can see them and come to rescue. Jack wants to have fun, he wants to go hunting and loves the drama and stands up to Ralph. He gets lots of followers and in the end the good side only consists of Ralph and the smart, but rather disliked boy Piggy.

One thing that didn’t really feel good when reading this, was that I never really knew the characters. Most of them were just names, but still mentioned a lot. It was first at the end where the names were fewer that you understood them better. It was also written rather inconsistently. It almost felt like there were two different authors. This is a book meant for children, but in some places it was written with many difficult words that I don’t even know and had to look up. But in most places the language was normal. It should have been consistent throughout in my opinion. It would have been easier to read, either way. The characters felt their age, however. It is not often that a book nowadays has characters that act their age, they usually come off much older. But these boys really felt like 12. Good.

I don’t really know what else to write, it was well worth my time, and I do get it why students read it in school. But maybe more kids would appreciate it more if they waited some years. I give it a 4.