Yes, Fahrenheit 451 is a cornerstone of dystopian literature, and an effective argument against censorship... but couldn’t it be a good book, too?
The story takes place in a not-too-distantly futuristic society where entire rooms are converted into television screens, people are even more passively ambivalent to issues than they are today, and, oh yeah, the job of the “firemen” is now to start the fires, rather than stop them. Books are illegal, you see—all books—so if you’re suspected of having any of them stashed away… well, you’re going to get a visit from the firemen.
Our protagonist, Montag, is one such fireman who develops an affinity for the books he burns, and the story basically follows his struggles to make a difference in this world where no one really cares anymore.
Well, this book was certainly a disappointment. I don't know, maybe my expectations were too high going into it? But there are some pretty serious flaws with this “cornerstone of dystopian literature”:
(WARNING: BELOW THIS LINE LIE SPOILERS AND ANGER-CAPS.)
As I'm posting reviews here, it occurs to me that I ought to give a quick run-down of my ratings system -- how I decide the number of stars to give each book.
I want to make it clear right now:
These ratings are only my opinion.
(I'd think this would be obvious, but recent debates about authors reviewing other authors have made me reconsider.)
These ratings (and, more accurately, the long-winded review that precedes them) are a reflection on my reading of the book -- what I do or don't find effective, whether something resonated particularly strongly with me, etc. If you disagree, that's cool! Leave me a comment explaining your perspective on it, and I'd be happy to have a dialogue with you. But the star system itself is mostly for use as a filing system. If it causes undue trouble, I'll just stop using them. Simple as that.
The ratings are far from an exact science, and ultimately I tend to go with my gut, but here's a couple lines on the reasoning behind each one: