Here we are. The book which every other dystopia novel spans from. The king of the forbidden future. The first and foremost fallen future. 1984 by George Orwell.
I almost feel like the “Miss America” theme song should be playing. Or the overzealous Hunger Games announcer should be bubbling about the beauty of the book. Either way, 1984 is kind of a big deal.
So why did I need an extra shove to begin the book? Why did it take me so long to muster the courage to write its review?
Well, I have a secret. I didn’t like it.
It was only a matter of time before I read this famous book and became acquainted with the infamous Big Brother. I continually told myself I’d read it eventually, so when 1984 made itself a spot on my book club list, I knew it was time to stop procrastinating.
I read and read and read. It took me about two weeks to finish the book; I was fooled by the thin spine. Upon opening the books, I realized you practically need a magnifying glass to read the words and the margins were nonexistent. Even so, I powered through.
The real problem I had were the characters. I’m big on characters I can connect with. In 1984, I didn’t care about them at all. During their torture and their happiness, I felt nothing towards Winston and Julia. Not one thing. Since I wasn’t fond of the people, I didn’t care about their story.
Also, I didn’t think the world was all that original. I know, I know, put it in perspective. Back in Orwell’s day, this plot concept was unread of. And all those other dystopian novels I’ve read are really just based off of 1984. Since this is the case, I don’t see why we still hold the book to such high regard. I’m sure it has tons of literary value, but just because it was the first doesn’t mean it’s the best.
If you don’t know what 1984 is about: Winston is an average guy with an ordinary office job. He lives in the year 1984, or so he thinks. The world has changed since 1949 when Orwell wrote the book. And not for the better. 1984 holds no freedom of any kind for the people. Big Brother, the government, keeps a keen eye on all; they even patrol your thoughts. No one is safe, and all rebellion is blown to smithereens for fear of torture, or worse.
What the heck was Orwell thinking when he wrote this book!? The entire globe has dismissed the old way of thinking and has embraced total ignorance and essentially slavery. How did he think in 35 years the world would end up like that? During book club, someone brought up the point that technology was accelerating at an alarming pace due to the Cold Ware and WWII, so Orwell may have assumed the innovations would keep coming. Then again, he could have just exaggerated to prove a point, but it seems ridiculous to me.
Sure, the symbolism, the figurative language, blah, blah, blah… makes this a great book and a must read. I do admit it to be a book I think everyone should read in order to become culturally aware and to prevent this terrible future. But in my uneducated opinion, it’s boring.
“The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but products of human labor.” pg. 157