Saturday, December 19, 2015

Teen Review: Sci Fi Classic

Reviewed by Mher Arutyunyan, grade 9

Fahrenheit 451, written by acclaimed author Ray Bradbury, is a stand-alone, science fiction novel depicting a dystopian society in the near future where firemen start fires instead of putting them out. In this society, books have been outlawed. They have been replaced with meaningless forms of entertainment like “Fun Parks” and vapid television programs. The protagonist of the story, Guy Montag, is a taciturn fireman whose job revolves around finding households that contain books, and burning them to the ground. Montag loves his job, at times being unable to suppress the sick smile on his face. However, everything changes when he meets Clarisse, a teenaged neighbor who teaches him that life is more than television and work. Eventually, Montag decides to take home a book from one of the houses he is tasked with burning, and his life changes forever.

Fahrenheit 451 is considered to be an incredibly influential sci-fi classic, and for good reason. Montag is an interesting character, and so is the antagonist of the story, Captain Beatty, the cryptic and stone-faced employer of Montag. Bradbury manages to pack in loads of social commentary, which perfectly complements the subject matter of the tale. It really is hard to believe that Bradbury wrote this novel in the 1950s, as the messages and themes presented in Fahrenheit 451 are more relevant now than ever with the growing trend of political correctness and censorship. The story is thrilling and action-packed, especially in the second half where Montag faces the most difficult challenge in his life. Fahrenheit 451 is a cautionary tale, warning readers of the dangers of oversimplification and the negative effects of a totalitarian government. Some of the themes in Fahrenheit 451 may be hard for young readers to grasp. For this reason, I would recommend this novel to high school students. It is also a relatively short read, coming in at 159 pages. Fahrenheit 451 is an important novel, one that will be read and loved for many years to come. It earns a perfect 5/5.

Editor's note: Here are some of the covers within which this book has appeared over its history!

As befits a classic such as this one, the library offers it as a book, an audio book, an e-book, an e-audio book, in large print, in Spanish, and we also carry the authorized graphic novel version! And for those of you reading it for school (rather than for fun, as Mher did), we also have several books of commentary about the author, the book, and the theme of censorship. Look in our catalog!

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