Review: Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

1984This book blew my mind just a little bit. Okay, maybe a lot. I wish I’d read it sooner, I wish I had been able to read it at school and study it properly because I think I probably missed so much but on the other hand I don’t think I would have been mentally able to comprehend it all had I read it any sooner. It is just so complex that one – relatively casual – reading isn’t really enough. It’s by no means a new favourite but it’s a book I have huge respect for because it is just genius. I also just have to say that George Orwell is a fantastic writer and I’m ashamed I put this off as long as I did. Trying to make this review coherent is going to be a challenge in itself so I’m not even going to try and make a grand overview of everything!

Ultimately, the thing that was most powerful for me about this book was language. How in this world that Orwell has created, language as we know it is being shrunk down to nothing. That one word is being used with prefixes to cover all multitude of things and how that’s basically creating a world that cannot express itself so everyone can only think in one way. It’s just terrifying to think about it, that sort of censorship. Running parallel to that is our freedom to think. It is something we take for granted and it is a key element of this book, just the idea of policing thoughts is boggling. That any threat to the government – real or imagined – will be silenced, that’s pretty scary!

The world that was created was in itself interesting to read about. I can’t quite put it in to words what it was about it but it was just so well developed. The politics was actually quite interesting to read about, which is actually the bit I was dreading!

It’s also one of those books wherein you never quite know where it’s going. You never know who is trustworthy and who isn’t – there were a couple of twists that surprised me and I’m quite good at calling things! The ending is just devastating in all the ways I wasn’t expecting. There just isn’t words for that kind of ending.

Now more than ever it’s an appropriate book, and an important book, to read. With the increase in technology and social networking, Big Brother is always watching in many ways, our actions have paper trails and yes… I think this book is a cautionary tale in some respects, and one that wasn’t really listened to when it was first published. It’s timeless, it represents so many elements of the world we live in now that it’s hard not to be affected by the story as a whole.

This, as I said, isn’t going to be a favourite book but I understand its importance. I understand why people love this book. I couldn’t have comprehended it when I was 16, or even 18, but I appreciate it now and I think I will reread one day and appreciate it a little bit more still. I’ll happily give this 4/5 because it really got me thinking.

2 thoughts on “Review: Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

  1. I feel exactly the same way about this book I think! I read it a few years ago and, like you said, it’s not a favourite book for me. But damn if it doesn’t make you think about everything! Studying it must be an amazing experience.
    I love the fact that Orwell decided to not give it an uplifting ending, as well. Even though it’s brutal when you read it, it makes the message of the whole story actually stand. If the ending had been different (apparently in the film adaptation, Big Brother doesn’t win!) it would have taken away from the entire feeling of the book. It just wouldn’t have had any effect on me, you know? If Big Brother could be beaten then the book wouldn’t have a purpose.

  2. This book is definitely in my top 3 and also blew my mind when I first read it! I must have been 15/16 and didn’t read much at the time. This book amazed me. I still remember the moment I finished it and everything around me felt different. I read it again a couple of year later, and I think now is time to re-read it… Thanks for your book reviews, your blog is really cool 🙂

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