You are reading-that’s a good start-but you are reading a review on the book Fahrenheit 451 which features a world eerily similar to our own with one major difference-books are banned. Nearly all reading is banned and books are good for one thing only, burning-burning with the houses they were hidden in.
Ray Bradbury’s book Fahrenheit 451, written more than 50 years ago, is still relevant and defiant against censorship even today. The book follows a fireman whose job is to burn rather than put fires out. With striking similarities to George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World where books have a profound position in the societies of each: Orwell-individual thought and books are banned, Huxley-there is seemingly no need for reading with so much pleasure and perfection, and in Bradbury’s-books are not needed as they cause thoughts and open a person to the actual real world around them; a world suffering and moving through motions without love and freedom and individualistic expression-which can be said about all three. It is perhaps a world we all fear.
Ray Bradbury has a heart for freedom of written word, for fantastical and beautifully constructed images that must not-for they cannot-be changed; otherwise one is delving into the mind of the author and changing the very thought they had formed, a thought that is and was undeniably there. A book can be edited, something Ray is wholeheartedly against (and I wholeheartedly agree with him), but it would then lose it’s essence, it’s reason for being a book. Books are stories, thoughts, voices speaking through history and time to the audience here and not yet to come. They reach through to touch hearts and minds to bend and reshape so as we can shape our own. Changing one word the author wrote and was therefore printed, is changing our very existence. Which is exactly what the firemen were meant to do, to edit inside this fearfully split and isolated world.
The fireman the reader follows in this fascinating novel is Guy Montag. Fireman of ten years, Guy never questioned his life or his reason for burning these books on midnight runs until he meets a young thoughtful girl, enchantingly free and loving-by far not carefree but possesses a great amount of pensiveness-because of her Guy finally felt accepted by someone in a society that follows motions-without logical emotional reasoning-but with logical apathy in order to silence dissent and disagreement. Guy later runs into an old university professor who helps him dream and take action toward a future where people can think for themselves and feel an ounce of worth once again. But Guy has a terrible secret, that if found out, would ruin his plans and his world.
This book, honestly, is a good read. One that I look back and wished I read early in my life but at least I’ve had the privilege to read it at all without a word changed or cut out. It is short and took me only three or so days to read. I highly recommend it to those that have also taken a liking to the other books previously mentioned in this review (1984 and Brave New World). And if you have read this book but not any of the other two, then I highly recommend those! Thanks for reading! My next review will be in two weeks and over Ellen Hopkins New York Times bestseller: Impulse. Look for Dave's review next Monday on A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway!