by Ray Bradbury
Started: 21st August 2015
Finished: 27th August 2015
Fahrenheit 451 is a book I’ve always seen on displays at Waterstones but I never really knew exactly what it was about. It wasn’t until I heard people talking about it that I realised what kind of novel it is – one that I knew I just had to read.
The novel takes place in a time where books are banned, and if any are found they are burnt by the fireman to make sure no one can ever read them again. Fireman Guy Montag always thought this was the right way to do things, he never questioned the system and enjoyed watching the pages curl up underneath the flame. That is until he gets a new neighbour, a strange 17-year-old girl named Clarisse whose questions slowly make him doubt his very purpose in life.
I really liked the characters in this novel, there weren’t too many of them for a short novel and you got to know their characters well enough to realise what they do for the plot. Guy Montag was a great protagonist, it was really interesting to me to see how he thinks he’s doing the right thing by being a fireman. I loved his interactions with Clarisse, it was just the small talks he would have with her that showed there was something different about him. Although I didn’t like her as a character (as you’re not really meant to) I liked having Mildred in the novel. It was great having her as a contrast against other characters and you really get to see how this new way of living has really had an effect on people who don’t question anything.
I loved the plot, it’s such a simple idea that books are banned but the lengths they go to to keep it that way and how much this has had an effect on people is so interesting. There was something very Orwellian about the censorship and the society in general. The novel, although short, is split into three parts and I feel this perfectly frames the story and really kept me intrigued. I also honestly didn’t know where the novel was going and how it would end which makes for a good read. Despite the length of the novel probably being exactly what the plot needs, I couldn’t help but want more by the end of it.
The way the novel is written is very engaging and Bradbury certainly knows how to set the pace. From word choice to syntax, Bradbury got it right every time showing that he really knew this story from inside out. Or rather Montag did, if you go by Bradbury’s ‘Afterword’. It’s rare that I read an afterword to a novel, sometimes I just prefer to leave it as it is and not have anything change that. But I just needed to know more about this world and society and found the afterword a really interesting read and something that complemented the story well.
Overall, as you can probably tell, I absolutely adored this novel. I really want to re-read it in one sitting to really take it all in. I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone, especially if you’re a lover of dystopian fiction.