Release Date: 1953
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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.
You might be looking at my rating and thinking “Amber, what the feck is wrong with you?”. I wouldn’t blame you. Fahrenheit 451 is a much beloved classic, and is a favourite of many of my friends, and two stars is a bloody low rating. It probably seems appalling that I have rated it so low, but I want you to know that I did appreciate what the book was saying, even if I didn’t particularly enjoy reading it.
I’m not making much sense because my feelings for Fahrenheit 451 are all over the place. On the one hand, I did like the premise of a guy who had been brainwashed basically doing a 180 and saying FUCK THE GOVERNMENT. On the other, Bradbury’s writing wasn’t compelling enough for me, and the execution of this novel was a let down.
The characters were very underwhelming because they just weren’t developed. I think Bradbury probably meant for it to be this way, but I didn’t like it. I wanted more fleshed out characters, although I did like a couple of them… but I can’t remember their names. Ha. Oh well.
Guy was a good character to follow because I love the idea of a character being brainwashed for his entire life, leading to him getting a job where he pretty much burns everything good to the ground for no reason, to suddenly undergo an awakening and rebel. I can see why dystopia is such a popular genre because dystopian societies are freakin’ awesome and scary when they’re created and developed properly.
Overall, Fahrenheit 451 is a good book, although it’s definitely lacking in some places and it didn’t live up to my expectations at all. I’m glad that I read it though because OH MY GOD, they burn books and it was very unsettling when I was imagining firemen running into my house to destroy my bookshelves. Sob.