Sunday, July 6, 2014

Book Review 9. 1984

Book: 1984
Author: George Orwell
Genre: Classic Dystopia
Pages: 326
Published: June 8th, 1949

Summary: Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell's chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell's narrative is more timely that ever. 1984 presents a "negative utopia," that is at once a startling and haunting vision of the world—so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of entire generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“War is peace. 
Freedom is slavery. 
Ignorance is strength.” 

Woah. I finished this book 10 minutes ago, and the end of George Orwell's dystopian classic "1984" scared me. Obviously, since this is a spoiler-free review, I won't tell you what happened, but woah. Frightening.

So "1984" is a novel about a future world where the world is ruled by 3 warring superpowers; Eurasia (Europe, Russia, and Northern Africa), Eastasia (Eastern and Southern Asia and some Pacific islands), and Oceania (the Americas, Great Britian, and the remaining Pacific islands). Main character Winston Smith lives in London, part of Oceania. He's ruled by a government known as "the Party," and is told that Big Brother is always watching him. His job consists of changing accounts of the past, like newspaper articles and books, to how the Party wants their citizens to believe the past was. After all, “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

It focuses on Winston, who's discontent with how everything around him is. "1984" is the story of his journey.

I thought "1984" was a very good book for all people who like depth in a book. It certainly would be a good book to discuss in a book club or English class, and I enjoyed it.

Some things I loved. . .
George Orwell's world building was an amazing part of this novel. He managed to convey exactly how terrible Oceania is in a tone that made the book highly enjoyable. I loved learning about the day-to-day life of these citizens, their routines, relationships, and activities. Overall, I was very pleased with what I received.

Winston's job, destroying evidence of the past, was a very interesting part of the novel. The concept that everyone just forgets their own memories and instead takes the Party's word as fact intrigued me. One of the jobs he did was erasing a man from every record in Oceania in order to make it appear that he never existed, and so everyone forgot about him. It's honestly scary, and fascinating.

The Party has this tactic of releasing the people's rage and confusion through things like the Two-Minute Hate and Hate Week. This wasn't a main focus, but this also intrigued me. It also contained some of the best sentences in the whole book, such as "A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic."

Some things I disliked. . .
I would of given this book 5+ stars instead of 5, but I did feel like Winston and Julia's affection was rushed. I understand that they're two adults desperate for love in a world where caring for someone else is a foreign concept, but Orwell should of let them have a bit more time to discover each other and develop their relationship. At times, they moved so fast that is was clear lust motivated them more than love. It ended up nicely, but on the journey they seemed a bit horny.

The Brotherhood's (an anti-Party group) book, from which chapters are inserted into "1984" midway through the plot, was boring. It was like reading a civics textbook, but more repetitive. This part would of been more successful if they only gave us a few paragraphs at a time, instead of 30 pages in one go. One of my friends who read this book told me he flat-out skipped that part, and I felt more along the lines of Julia's character who actually fell asleep as Winston read it to her.

I do suggest this book to any dystopian fans, since it's a nice part of that genre's history. So remember; Read this book, since Big Brother's watching.

PS, I can't wait to read one of Orwell's other famous books, "Animal Farm."

Some Other Reviews for "1984" (may contain spoilers)
Nicole Basaraba
Lector's Books
Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment