Fahrenheit 451 Book Review
Science fiction poetry...a new genre. I have read my fair share of science fiction but I have never come across a sci-fi book written so eloquently and with such profound meaning intertwined. I have always wanted to read this book and I am so happy that I finally got the chance. I really enjoyed it and savored every word.
I found Ray Bradbury's portrayal of the future in Fahrenheit 451 to be surprisingly dark. I knew what the premise of the book was about and any future where books are banned is sure to have its dark side. But the entire world he created was terribly dark, depressing and ultimately creepy. The wost part was the loneliness you felt along side Guy Montag in his home and his life. Everyone was alone, no one ever talked about anything meaningful. The only joy in his wife's life was her television paneled walls which she regularly conversed with.
Guy never realized how lonely he was until he befriended a young teenage girl who lived on the same street. She actually spoke to him, asked him provoking questions and asked his opinion. She got him to start thinking for himself, something he never seemed to have done before. After she was killed, he began to wonder why he burned books. He questioned his whole livelihood and the world he lived in. What was so wrong with books and why should he burn them?
While I was reading this short novel I kept making comparisons to this book and the future today. Bradbury's description of the tiny drone always buzzing in everyone's ear with pleasing sounds.....I thought of the iPod. The television panels walls? Flat screens. The world's indifference to the going ons in other countries, starvation, war and more....the United States today? We hear about so much strife in other areas that we seem to be able to just tune things out. It isn't happening over here, so why should we care?
In Fahrenheit 451 no one seems to care about anything of importance and that is their downfall. Books had been banned because it was thought that they kept certain people at a disadvantage. Books could be used to make some people smart, while others who did not read were not as knowledgeable. And there were just too many books, too much information. It had all become too confusing. Therefore they banned books to make people more equal. It didn't make the most sense, but how else could you sum up several generations of new thinking in a short novel? You got the point, books were banned.
Although it was a morbidly gloomy book, the end resulted in a feeling of hope. The country's ignorance had led to war and the city Guy Montag lived in was destroyed, just as he had escaped. And as he watched this destruction from afar in the countryside, he came across some worldly wanderers who were of like mind. And they would not let this information and knowledge contained in books to die. Several of them had memorized entire volumes of books, keeping it alive. And now that the world was being destroyed, perhaps the old laws would be destroyed as well, allowing for these memorized manuscripts to be rewritten and printed. At least, that is the hope I got from its ending.
One of my favorite parts about this book was not a part in the story, but the way Bradbury was so descriptive. He would use the most ambiguous ways to describe something you could never put into words, yet you would read it and know EXACTLY what he was talking about. He was brilliant! His descriptions were intricate, perfect, detailed and beautiful.
Another interesting note was in Ray Bradbury's forward. No one would publish this book. He kept trying to get it published until finally, one brave and new publisher decided to give it a chance. That publisher was Hugh Hefner. The three chapters of Fahrenheit 451 were published in volumes 2, 3 and 4 of Playboy, respectively. They must have used each other as a platform for success and it was history from there.
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