Genre: classic; dystopian; futuristic
Plot Summary: [from goodreads:] “Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell’s nightmare vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff’s attempt to find individuality.”
My Book Review: Who hasn’t heard of this classic novel by now? Of course it’s a must-read, and I had to find out for myself why it is. I quickly learned that this doesn’t have much to do with how George Orwell predicted the world would be by 1984. It’s not really futuristic in that sense. It’s just the year (or, approximate year for no one really knows for certain) that the story takes place in.
This review isn’t going to do the book justice. Let’s just say it got my inner cogs going page after page! I wish I had kept a journal of things I came across as interesting, along with my commentary and thoughts but I didn’t have a notebook at the time. I fairly flew through this. I will probably want to go back and dissect it even more later. I recommend an annotated version, commentary, curriculum, or cliff’s notes to go along with reading it. There’s just so much food for thought!
There were not a few unsettling parts. I wasn’t prepared for the sex scenes. There are several, so parents will want to be really cautious if letting highschoolers read this. The main characters don’t always make moral choices or follow a moral code. That’s not to say our main character doesn’t try, but at some point any of us may reach a weak spot somewhere. I disliked the character of Julia. I found her shallow, worldly, and rather a tramp. I didn’t really trust her emotionally with Winston.
I felt frustrated with the interruption of Winston’s reading of The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, a mini-book within the book which was more interesting than it sounds. Just when it got to the really good part–! (No spoilers here.)
Naturally after reading the book, I wanted to know more about the author. Some readers may be surprised to find that George Orwell himself (pen name for Eric Blair) was a socialist. He distinguished himself from it in the ordinary sense of the word by calling himself a democratic socialist, but all socialist roads lead to socialism in my book. There are no checks to keep man in balance once you start playing around with it. I think he began to move more and more toward this conclusion near the end of his life, though he may not have completely turned about.
I could make this a super long review, but I’d recommend reading the book for yourself. If you’re looking for a feel-good story, this is not it. The whole tone is tense, gritty, and black and blue. I came away from it with two thoughts: A) relief that man is too human to be able to hold up a perfectly rigid system such as Big Brother’s; and B) anxiety knowing that man is too human not to try.
The world goes batty:
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