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.
The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, 'Fahrenheit 451' stands alongside Orwell's '1984' and Huxley's 'Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization's enslavement by the media, drugs, and conformity.
Bradbury's powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock."
This is one of those books that I should have read a long time ago-- probably in high school-- but just didn't. So at my friend Ezra's request, I borrowed her copy and read.
It was scary to read about a world where books aren't important. Not just unimportant, but feared to the point of destruction. TV consumes entire days, weeks, and years until the people who watch refer to the people on TV as "the family." Violence runs rampant and is even encouraged. Fire fighters start the fires instead of putting them out.
Guy Montag is one of the firefighters, but then he starts to wonder about the books that are burned and steals some books Book Thief style. He has trouble understanding them but he still wants to know more, despite his frustration. Montag realizes that while books may be hard to read or may hit so close to home it's scary, that's the point. Books are stories written for people by people. We may not always like it, but books are records of people. Sometimes it's the things human beings have physically done, but more often than not it's a record of what we cared about and what we were passionate about. Maybe that's building a relationship with God, surviving a struggle, figuring out what ultimately matters in a lifetime, finding true love (or figuring out what that looks like), etc.
That's what I love about the books that exist in the world, whether they were published yesterday or forty or a hundred years ago.
That's why I loved the end of the book when Montag meets the camp full of scholars and thinkers who memorized some of the most prominent books and stories in existence. There's something beautiful about books and stories written for people by people being passed on from one person to the next by word of mouth. We embody the stories that we take in and that's a very literal representation of that.
This is a book that I'm not done with. Yes, I finished it once and that's why you're reading this review, but this is not a book that one can read once and toss aside forever. I finished this book a while ago, but it needed to marinate for a while.
Read this if you're a lover of books and would like a book that has a high potential for sticking with you.
For now, I give 'Fahrenheit 451':