Saturday, February 4, 2017

Book Review of 1984 by George Orwell

Goodreads Summary: The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell's prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of "negative utopia" -a startlingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words. No one can deny the novel's hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions -a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.
Goodreads Rating: 4.13 stars with over 1.9 million ratings
Genre Listing: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Literature, Fantasy, Philosophy, Politics, British Literature
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Book Challenge: #6 A Book that's considered a classic

Book Review:

I finished a classic! Woohoo! I feel like I should get some kind of award when I actually finish a classic. I don't know what it is, but I have a hard time reading them. 1984 by George Orwell was a bit of a rollercoaster for me. At times I found myself completely engaged in it and not able to put it down, but then there were a lot of occasions where I felt like it was painfully boring and I just wanted it to get on with the point. I really didn't find myself getting into it until around 40% and after that my interest in it was sporadic at best. 

Given that this book was produced in the late 40s early 50s, it's actually a bit terrifying. There were definite places that I could draw some connections to modern day. I can also see why this year purchases of it have skyrocketed, but I'm not going to dive any further into that subject. You all can infer what you want from it, and leave it at that.

I thought the idea of Winston's job was really interesting and how there are entire organizations to altering previously recorded information. The workers in the party just seem to go with it and update it as needed and no one but Winston seems to question it. I also found it interesting, and terrifying, that the entire culture was built on hate and fear. The world that Orwell created seems dark and awful, which I suppose is what Big Brother intended. 

The imagery created was something I really enjoyed. I thought that Orwell went into a surprising amount of detail about the devices used, the scenery, and just the every day to day life of an outer party member. The gadgetry almost seemed a little steampunk to me, but given that this would have been 30 years into the future for Orwell, I thought it was pretty incredible that he created it. 

I didn't really get the relationship with Julia, and I really disliked her. She seemed really vapid to me and like she just hated the party because it was something to do, and nothing to do with her actual thoughts. I honestly could have done without her in the story, but I suppose Winston's relationship with her is what progressed him into diving further into his own thoughts. 

The ending surprised me quite a bit. I was expecting something completely different, but I'm not disappointed in the actual ending. It fit really well with the darkness and bleakness of the story, and honestly, I think it made everything a bit more interesting.  The one thing that really threw me off was the chapters that were written from "the book." I felt like they were dreadfully boring, and honestly, I mostly skimmed them so I wouldn't fall asleep.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I can see why it's a classic. It's not going to be my favorite book ever, but I'm glad I took the time to read such an important classic. I definitely think that it's the backbone and inspiration of a lot of dystopian books that are out today.


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