REVIEW: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

REVIEW SUMMARY: Thought-provoking classic SF

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: In the future, all books are outlawed and burned by firemen.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Some interesting concepts

CONS: Slow moving at times

BOTTOM LINE: An enjoyable classic. A good read.


Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is an enjoyable classic of science fiction. According to the publishing notes in the copy I read, a shorter version appeared 3 years earlier than the official 1953 version. At 50 years old, the story may lack some of the punch of more modern stories, but it easily holds its own as a worthwhile read.

The plot depicts a futuristic society where happiness is achieved in shallow waters. Pleasure comes from wall-sized TV screens and meaningless conversation. Thinking is almost sinful and books, the vehicles of new and different ideas, are banned. To accomplish the eradication of these always-useless thoughts, society uses firemen to burn whatever books remain intact. Fahrenheit 451 follows Guy Montag, a fireman who begins to wonder why books are burned after meeting a carefree girl who has the gall to question whether people, and particularly Guy, are really happy. Eventually, Guy begins to rescue (that is, steal) books from the fires.

The story features some interesting elements. First is the portrayal of a mentally stagnant society. It’s hard to read a book about a world where books themselves are outlawed and not wonder what it would be like. Secondly is the foreignness of the idea that firemen start fires with kerosene instead of putting them out with water. This environment evokes a dark mood in the reader (the perfect backdrop for Montag’s loveless marriage). To me, the sign of a good book is when the print it contains can evoke a mood or feeling in the reader, as this one did. Also nicely done was showing the guilt that Guy feels after stealing the books. After all, can it be right if society deems it to be wrong?

There were a few slow points here and there. Maybe the original, shorter version moved faster? Bradbury’s writing style often contains long-winded sentences, on and on they run, staccato sometimes, going on forever, sometimes spewing their ideas in the cold blanket of the night, sometimes lasting longer than a…well…you get the idea. I’ve attempted one other Bradbury story a few years ago – Something Wicked This Way Comes. In that book, I could not get past the forced lyrical prose so I put it down after drudging through 60 pages or so. Fahrenheit 451 was significantly more palatable.

Overall, I would recommend this novel. I think it would even appeal to non-SF fans since it does not contain what non-SF fans usually think SF contains exclusively (spaceships and aliens and robots, oh my!). It’s a good read.

12 thoughts on “REVIEW: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury”

  1. fahrenheite 4451 is not really an attention grabber when i herd about what the book was about i just had to get it. but as i started to read it i couldent get past the first page. i can tell that the book was ment to be good but its somthing about the way he writes it that makes it just a little less interesting for teenagers.

  2. I chose to do this book for an 8th grade research paper. At first I would say that it is a bit slow moving, but he had an amazing way of building up to the climax. I found myself captivated and even horrified at what I read. It made me angry (even though I know its just a book ;-)) BUT STILL!! The way things are headed now-a-days, I have a feeling we may meet up with the same fate that poor Montag wound up with.

  3. I had to read this book for a summer reading and then I had to write an essay.It is kind of boring. and Ray’s wrting is so repetitive it is kind of confusing. I don’t know, I’m not the biggest reader but the people that I know who are big readers HATE IT!!!!! So this isn’t an interesting book for teenagers:D.

  4. I know it is not manga and therefore probably not of any interest to many teenagers. It is a shame really since this book is far more interesting than some of the other required reading from my youth. Ray Bradbury is a great author with a fair number of hits and misses – I also guess that if you didn’t have to write the essay, the book would not have been so bad.

    And personally, I think this book is quite good for teenagers and I dare say that if you darned kids would read more, and watch less TV – the world would be a better place. Sorry, had a parental moment there :-@

  5. It was weird and full of repitition. The exposition was fast-paced and interesting but when it went into The Sieve and the Sand it began to get very slow and uninteresting. But at the end, when Montag ran from the law, I was very intrigued. It is a very good book for teenagers, but it might just be because I am rather well read. ;-)

  6. It was weird and full of repitition. The exposition was fast-paced and interesting but when it went into The Sieve and the Sand it began to get very slow and uninteresting. But at the end, when Montag ran from the law, I was very intrigued. It is a very good book for teenagers, but it might just be because I am rather well read. ;-)

  7. This was one of the best books I read this year, which is my freshman year of high school. I seriously think y’all who think it was boring just thought that because it made you think and it didn’t have pictures. Fahrenhiet 451 showed us a world that has been consumed by technology and of people who can’t think for themselves. It’s a prime example of what our society is going to be if people like you who think this book is stupid or boring will be like if you had any say in the way society was run. And Mont’e, if you’re going to criticize Fahrenheit 451, LEARN HOW TO SPELL FAHRENHEIT 451. THIS BOOK ISN’T “fahrenheite 4451″!!!(6)

    I’m having a parental moment right now, and I’m no where near becoming a parent!!

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