Thursday, May 5, 2016
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 is part of the classic dystopian triangle, along with Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four. It was the last of the three to be published, and the last of the three that I read. And I don't QUITE know how to feel about it.
It's the story of Guy Montag, who's a fireman. Except that in this weird, dystopian world, firemen don't come to save you from a fire. No, they come to burn down your house with you inside it. Why? Because you happen to own books. Why burn people who own books? Because books cause unhappiness and conflict in society, and they encourage people to think for themselves.
Except then Guy gets his hands on a book for the first time, and it changes his entire life.
I think my problems with this book was twofold:
1. I reads its 200-odd pages over the course of nine days, rather than reading it in one solid sitting. So from one day to the next, I'd forget a lot of the details of what I'd read and have to decide between backtracking to find out the details or press on regardless and have a few moments of confusion; and
2. It's the kind of book that's great to study in high school, where you have an English teacher pointing out all the symbolism and meaning and major turning points. And because I didn't have that, I finished the book feeling like I was missing something, missing what it is about this book that makes people love it so much.
The ending was pretty action-packed, but the middle was a little...draggy for me. So while I liked it, I'm not entirely sure I understood it. Because sometimes my brain doesn't deal so well with stories that have a lot of layers to them. And this was a prime example of that - the problem here was definitely me and not the book.
Have you read it? What did you think??