Recommendation: This is a short book that is easy to squeeze into your reading schedule that will challenge your views on censorship and media consumption. Move it up to high priority on your TBR and buy a copy as this one is very re-readable.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury was written back in 1953 and it is still relevant today. In Bradbury’s world firefighters start fires, especially burning books. The masses are told what to think and propaganda rules the world. Individuals spend all their time watching television shows that have little value or content. Depression and suicide haunt this world but society tells individuals that being equal is the road to happiness, and that books create inequality and sadness. Everything changes when the story’s protagonist, Montag, meets a young girl that challenges the way he sees the world.
Fahrenheit 451 is one of those staples of classic science fiction that I should have read a long time ago. I felt a lot of hype going into it and the hype did not let me down. This was an excellent book that related to a lot of things going on today. There is a move for there to be revision to a lot of classic books that aren’t consider politically correct anymore. Some individuals want to put restrictions on the type of books that younger readers can check out at the library or buy at the store. This type of censorship is explored in Fahrenheit 451 and why this type of censorship hurts society as a whole.
There were two things that really impacted me while reading Fahrenheit 451 other than the censorship issue. The first is the society’s focus on physical activity in the school system in that world. Physical activity is definitely important in the school system but the 451 world takes it to the extreme in place of reading. I found myself thinking about our own world and our own focus on physical fitness and gym culture. There is much less focus on self education and enjoyment reading in our society anymore. People are more concerned about working out their bodies than their mind and character.
The other thing that really impacted me when I read this book is the complete obsession that Millie, Montag’s wife, had on watching her “family” television programming. It reminded me so much of our society’s obsession with binge watching at the moment. We have more televisions shows and movies available to watch instantly for a cheap subscription fee than what people have time for. I am all about a nice binge watching session on Netflix but it is very easy for Netflix to take over your life. If you enter the average American home, most people are just staring at screens, being entertained but with very little mental interaction, just like Fahrenheit 451.
I highly enjoyed this novel, I will be re-reading this in the future. The prose was fantastic, I did not expect this lyrical of a writing style from Bradbury. I could see where this might rub some people the wrong way because Bradbury takes things to the extreme in this novel and it could be highly political, but I enjoyed it. I took off one star because the ending was a little clunky compared to the rest of the novel.
20/25 Possible Score
Plot – 3(Good)
Characters – 3(Good)
Setting/World Building – 4(Strong)
Writing Style – 5(Very Strong)
Heart & Mind Aspect – 5(Very Strong – Mind)