Author: Ray Bradbury
Genres: Classics, Sci-Fi, Dystopian
Originally Published: October 1, 1953
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Retail Price: $15.99 US
Page Count: 158
Received: Library Giveaway
The terrifyingly prophetic novel of a post-literate future.
Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.
The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.
Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades on from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.
What I Liked:
I liked the prediction of technology that was supposed to be 70 years from when this book was written. Some of it is actually really spot on which still shocks me. How did Bradbury know 60+ years ago that people would be ruled by technology and their care for important things would start to lack?
There were really good quotes that made a really big impact on me while reading that I read them over and over again. These quotes (featured at end of review) were a good help to the concept of this book about books. What is taught to Montag all by himself in this story about how the society he lives in is actually really amazing.
Do not read any further if you have not read this book. Spoilers ahead.
How a fireman could “turn sour” on what should be his own beliefs is actually great. It shows that some people, no matter how high up in the they are, some people can come to their senses and learn that some things are wrong, even the things they’re doing. What really amazed me was the fact that Montag has been curious about what he’s been burning for quite a while. He’s had books in his vent (?) for, what seems like, a while now.
I also really enjoyed Clariesse before she suddenly disappeared and we were told she was dead. Smiley face.
What I Didn’t Like:
Obviously, I gave this book a rating of 1.5 out of 5 stars for a reason. And here they are:
- The writing was unbearable. I just could not easily get through the style until about halfway through the second part. The sentence structure was really weird and made the sentences long with so many add ins. This also caused a majority of the plot to be really confusing to me. There was no world building besides the technology and him running down the railroad. Where is Fahrenheit 451 even set in, as in present day? I didn’t understand what the Salamander was… or whatever it was the firemen used. For how many words were in one paragraph or sentence, I didn’t see much description to where it could paint a nice picture in my mind.
- The characters were unbearable. It kind of felt like how people see Bella in Twilight; just a lot of breathing and stuttering and not knowing what to say. Mildred was so annoying (everyone in my class agrees!) with the things she cares about, which is what a lot of people care about. Beatty, aswell, annoyed me. At first, I thought he was a good character, helping Montag figure out who he was. But he just ended up being an a**.
“‘I heard once that a long time ago houses used to burn by accident and they needed firemen to stop the flames.'” – page 6
“Only an hour, but the world had melted down and sprung up in a new and colorless form.” – page 14
“‘I don’t think it’s social to get a bunch of people together and then not let them talk…'” – page 27
“They read the long afternoon through, while the cold November rain fell from the sky upon the quiet house.” – page 67
“‘I’ve heard rumors; the world is starving, but we’re well fed. Is it true, the world works hard and we play?… Do you know why?… Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave.'” – page 70
“and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore.'” – page 82
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies… Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die… It doesn’t matter what you do… so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.'” – page 150