This is one of those books that’s been on my TBR shelf for what feels like years (heck, who am I kidding, it has actually been years… I think I added this when I made my account in 2012). However, in the past week, I finally bought it on my Kindle and dug in – so you can imagine how excited I am to finally be adding it to my Read shelf.
Honestly, despite its status as a classic, I knew very little about this book going in, except that it had something to do with burning books. At first, I found the narrative a little hard to follow as it was written in the first person and so didn’t have the facility to explain the complexities of the world to the reader. However, over time, I came to understand the world a little better and appreciated the freedom of interpretation that was created by not laying it all out in black and white.
If I’m being completely truthful, I wasn’t dying about Montag as a narrator. I didn’t find his awakening very convincing and his method of delivery wasn’t amazingly engaging. However, the plot and concept are really the focus of this novel, and Montag’s semi-flatness made that stand out all the more, so I’m willing to overlook it.
My favourite character in the novel was definitely Clarissa. In fact, after she exited the novel I stopped reading for like 4 days to mourn. She was a marvellous character to read about and I wish we’d gotten a little bit more of her, if only this had been written in the age of the companion novel!
As a lover of the novella and the <300 page novel, it’s rare for me to say, but I wished there had been more of this book. I think an extra hundred pages or so would have really helped resolve my few problems with this novel – it could have eradicated some of the confusion in the beginning, and could have cushioned the immediacy of Montag’s awakening… but I suppose if the worst thing I can say about a book is that I wish there was more of it, it can’t have been that bad!
In an effort to power through the second half of this novel, I downloaded a version on Audible and I’m so disappointed I didn’t do that right from the start. Tim Robbin’s narration is really fitting and helped inject a little bit more personality into Montag’s character, if I were to read it again I’d definitely utilise this more.
Overall, I gave Fahrenheit 451 4 stars. It was an interesting and insightful read that posed a lot of great questions to an English nerd like myself – I guess that’s why it’s a modern classic. However, there were things about it that simply weren’t to my taste, I’d be lying if I said otherwise, so I just can’t put it in the 5 star bracket.
I’d definitely recommend this novel if you haven’t picked it up already, especially if you’re a fan of a good dystopian. Plus, it’s super short, so it’s a great way to tick off another title on your 2017 Reading Challenge!
I’d love to hear about your favourite dystopians in the comments below, from classics to YA I don’t care! I’m a big fan of Animal Farm and The Hunger Games (an eclectic mix, I know), what about you?