September 10, 2006
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Classic Literature/Science Fiction
Finished on 9/3/06
Rating: C (3/10 Ho-hum)
I’ve had this book in my stacks for years. It was never assigned reading in any of my high school or college courses, but over the years I kept hearing great things about it from booklovers like myself and was looking forward to finally reading it as part of my personal Back-To-School Classic Challenge.
Not only is it difficult to write a review about a book I didn’t care for, but there’s an additional struggle to review a world-renowned piece of literature that has been taught, analyzed, discussed and reverently admired since its publication in 1953. I suspect anyone of any intellect knows the basis for the Bradbury’s dystopic work concerning censorship. Yes, I’m intimidated! Especially since I didn’t think it was half as good as I anticipated. What’s wrong with me?? How could I not like a book about books?! And especially a book about what happens to people's minds (and to freedom in general) when governments ban them!
Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires…
The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning… along with the houses in which they were hidden.
Guy Montag enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames… never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid.
Then he met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think… and Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do!
While reading Fahrenheit 451, I was reminded how much I enjoy science fiction, specifically the extrapolation that's so much a part of that genre, and which Bradbury uses to demonstrate his incredible insight into the future. The wall-size, interactive TVs and in-ear "seashell" radios (so much like today's iPods and other media players) described in Guy Montag’s world are no longer electronics of the future, of course, but commonplace in today’s society. Very cool that someone in the early 50s could imagine a world with such advanced technologies. Certainly makes me wonder what our world will be like in 2050.
I’m glad I finally got around to reading this, if only because I now have a little more knowledge about the particulars of the book, giving me one more chance to answer an Arts & Literature question correctly and beat my husband at Trivial Pursuit!