Author: Ray Bradbury
Book: Fahrenheit 451
Book in series: 1 of 1
Release date: 1953
Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.
This book is one of the “classic” dystopias that most people have heard about, but never read. Not that long ago, we decided to pick it up and see for ourselves what all the fuss was about. One thing you notice straight away is that Guy Montag is not your typical protagonist. He is a middle aged man with very little passion in life other than his job as a fireman. He has a miserable marriage thanks to the TV screens that line the walls of his house, and a wife who spends most of her time engrossed in reality programmes. Sound familiar? Even back in the 50s when this book was written people predicted the obsession with technology that was to come.
We are so used to YA dystopias that we sometimes find it hard to connect with books that are either aimed at other readers or were written a long time ago. Fahrenheit 451 was quite a slow read, without much build, so we didn’t really find ourselves gripped into the book. This might be because of the era that it was written in, compared to the fast paced, action packed dystopias that flood the modern market. What we enjoyed most about the book was comparing it to the reality we now live in, to see how accurate the predicted future was.
Whilst it is not a save the world dystopia, it is about a moment in time and one man finding himself in a alienating society. This is something many of us feel in our current lives, so it makes it a story to identify with.
Check out Fahrenheit 451 mainly to connect to the ancestors of our modern YA dystopias and to understand a bit more about how our past can inform our future. This is one for those of you that like a more sedate, slower paced narrative, but one that makes you think and question.
Age recommendation – adult