Book Review: Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury

Ballantine Books

208 pages

Guy Montag is a firefighter.  In the world he lives in, firefighters do not fight fires though, they actually start them.  The government, in an attempt to control the population, has banned any written word, so all books are set afire.  If neighbors or acquaintances suspect someone is harboring books, they will report them and the entire house will be immediately burned down.

The world Guy lives in is so completely unbelievable–it actually reminded me of the movie Pleasantville with Toby McGuire and Reese Witherspoon, in the sense that the government is attempting to stop the flow of any emotion and feeling.  Without those, no one cares enough to question any motives.  Guy’s wife, Mildred, was the worst! She had her “family”, which were really the people on TV, and that was all she seemingly cared about.

Shockingly, I was never assigned to read this book in school.  I know it is assigned reading in a lot of high schools and I am so glad that that was not the case for me, because I highly doubt that I would have appreciated this book to the extent that I do reading it now, as an adult.

This is the type of book that is tiny but packs a BIG punch.  There were so many lines that I would just read and reread because they were so great.  Some of my favorites:

“You weren’t there, you didn’t see,”he said. “There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there . . . ”

page 51

“Most of us can’t rush around, talk to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven’t time, money, or that many friends.  The things you are looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book. “

page 86

I think any serious reader will appreciate this book.  My husband was incredulous to find out how much I loved this book, seeing as he read over half of it and eventually put it down in disgust.  I think, had he stayed with it, he would have seen the “big picture”.  This book just stands for so much more than just the plotline.

I didn’t intentionally read and review this book for Banned Books Week–it just kinda happened!

Other Reviews:

The Book Lady’s Blog

Rhapsody in Books

Fizzy Thoughts

Presenting Lenore

A Book Blog. Period.

things mean a lot

Nose in a Book

I purchased this book . . . maybe from Target?

This book counts towards the RIP challenge.

16 Responses

  1. Unfortunately, I think there are a lot of Mildreds in the world! I don’t think I read this in school either – just on my own. But even if our schools fail us, Target has great selections! :–)

  2. What good timing, reading this during banned books week! I haven’t read it, wasn’t assigned it in school either, but it sounds fascinating and I’ll have to look it up.

  3. I found a loot of Bradbury books hidden in my Dad’s overpacked bookshelves a couple of months a go, this was the first one of them I read and loved it. Such a different story especially considering when it was written, plus its interesting some of the small things he got right about the future/our present like fast cars, huge televisions and seashells which reminded me of ipods. I think your definitely right this was a book that I wouldn’t have appreciated so much if I hadn’t been an adult.

  4. I think this is one of those books where the story is great but I HATED the writing! It was way too folksy or something and I just really didn’t like the words on the page… but it is a powerful read, so even if I didn’t love the prose, I’m glad I read it!

  5. I hate to admit but I still haven’t read this book … I really need to change that.

    And it really is a horror book isn’t it? The burning of books? No books allowed? I don’t know if I’d read anything scarier for my RIP challenge yet.

  6. This is one of the few books that I was assigned in high school and really enjoyed! I definitely need to re-read it someday. I recently watched Truffaut’s film adaptation of this novel which was different but still quite interesting. Enjoyed your review! Thanks for sharing the quotes!

  7. I didn’t read this in school either, but I was quite torn on it. I really liked the idea of it all and the general story, but it felt so half done to me. There was so much missing! I just don’t think Ray Bradbury and I are a match– I wasn’t a fan of Something Wicked This Way Comes even though it was quite beautiful at times. Humm.

  8. I didn’t read this in school. In fact, I read it for the first time as I prepared to teach it to 10th graders. Great book. I am going to host a reading challenge along these lines next year: Books I Was Supposed To/Think I Should Have Read in High School, But Didn’t. I think it will give us all a chance to dig out that book we think we should read or perhaps are even embarrassed to say we didn’t read.

  9. I think maybe I’ve been living under a rock because I hadn’t heard about this book until this week, and now have heard so much that I just have to read it!

  10. Great review! I think it’s time I reread this book. I read it a million trillion times when I was younger, but haven’t since then.

  11. I loved this book the first time I read it! I should re-read it….

  12. I didn’t read this in high school either but I’m so glad I’m discovering it now. I’ve been reading passages of the book to my mom and husband and am just outraged at what is happening! I love this book. I plan on finishing it this weekend.

  13. I read this last year during the month preceeding Banned Book Week, where I tried to read a banned book every week all month. We never had to read it in school but instead watched the movie, and the movie was so disturbing to me that it took me until I was 30 years old to get the courage to read the book!

  14. Until reading your review, I never felt any urgency to read this book, but I’ve added it to my to-read list. I know what you mean about not being able to appreciate books as much when you’re younger, which is why I’m glad I read To Kill a Mockingbird recently for the very first time.

  15. I think this is one book that could’ve been longer! I would’ve liked to know more about how that world got to that point. I know it’s inferred at the end, but that’s the part that I found so fascinating…how society could let itself get to that point!

  16. I had to read this book in 7th grade and I definitely did not appreciate it!! I think if I read it now I would maybe like it, or at the very least appreciate it much more!

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