Review: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451FAHRENHEIT 451 By Ray Bradbury

Simon & Schuster, Reissue edition (Jan 10, 2012)

Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future.

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.

Remember this one? Yeah, it’s an oldie, published in 1953 but this is a classic. It impacted my youth instilling in me a horror that no movie could come close to – the burning of books.

I especially enjoyed the supplemental material at the end of the book where Bradbury talks about writing this novel in the public library paying .10 a half hour for the use of a typewriter. A book about burning books was very appropriately written in a library. Bradbury jokes about writing “a dime novel.” Another thing I learned was the publisher sent out 6,000 copies for reviews. Whew!

For a worthy use of time, treat yourself to a classic and don’t skip the articles that follow. It gave me chills because of how much our society has veered in the direction of mindless gratification (OMG not one more reality show!) instead of intellectual stimulation.

Reviewed by Donna for the February 2015 issue of The Book Breeze.

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