Author : Ray Bradbury
Genre : Science Fiction
Number of pages : 179
Year published : 1953
Rating : 4 stars (out of 5)
Imagine a world where firemen start the fires instead of putting them out, the roads have speed minimums instead of speed limits, and libraries are not only non-existent, but they are also illegal. Fahrenheit 451 follows the life of Guy Montag, a “fireman” in this future world who starts to feel lost in a society where his job is to burn books and everything around him suddenly seems empty and meaningless. Technology permeates every aspect of his life, from the firehouse watchdog, to the mechanical toaster that automatically butters his bread every morning.
He never questioned it—never imagined life any other way—until he meets a young girl named Clarisse, and she opens his eyes to a new perspective of the world around him. Curiosity overcomes him, and he begins to steal novels from the houses he burns, to see what books like The Bible are all about. The journey that ensues is captivating, and offers an insightful underlying commentary on the direction society is headed today.
I don’t read much science fiction, but I thoroughly enjoyed this quick read—it only took me a few days to finish. All my friends told me it was one of their favorites in high school, so I had to check it out, and I’m glad I did. I especially enjoyed the Afterword and Coda by Bradbury, where he goes on to explain alternate endings and post-novel lives of the main characters that he never officially wrote into the book. (Note: I think they are only included in editions published after 1979). I would definitely recommend it, especially for those of us who couldn’t imagine life without literature. This one is for the book lovers!
Review by Kristie Dickinson, CSOM '13