When I tell you that I read Fahrenheit 451 for fun, not for school, you may think I’m crazy. It has been over 50 years since it was published, and it is not exactly considered prime reading material for teens. It is, however, considered a classic, which is what inspired me to read it in the first place.
Fahrenheit 451 takes place in a kind of dystopian future where all books, except for a few comics and trade journals, have been banned (Oh, the horror!). And the worst part – nobody cares! In this strange world, everyone would rather watch TV-like screens built into the walls of their homes and listen to mini earpiece radios, which is actually what they do most of the time. The main character, Guy Montag, has a different lifestyle, however. Montag is a fireman, but he does not stop fires – he starts them. He and the other firemen are responsible for burning any books they find. It is only until he meets his quirky neighbor, a teenage girl, that he starts to question this system and make a plan to rebel…
When I started this book, I did not expect it to be very challenging. At only 165 pages, it looked more like a novella than a classic – but oh, how wrong I was. This book is not for the faint-hearted reader. It is an intense, complex novel that will probably leave you confused and frustrated at times due to the lack of explanation. The plot is fast-paced – so fast-paced, in fact, that it’s hard to keep up, and you feel little connection to the characters. But despite these shortcomings, I found the ideas in this book interesting. I found myself fascinated by one scene in which it is explained why books have been banned, and I couldn’t help but notice similarities between the futuristic society of the book and our own modern society. Isn’t it true that we have become obsessed with technology? We want the newest, fastest, and most convenient version of everything – who really wants to sit down and read a book when you can listen to it on your iPod or watch the movie version on TV? I think the questions posed by this book are what really make it worth reading. So if you are a tough reader who is willing to stick it out through the complicated and confusing plot, you may want to give Fahrenheit 451 a try. It may not be Harry Potter, but it’s considered a classic for a reason.
–Review by Callan, 16