Monday, July 09, 2007
1984 - George Orwell
This is one to cross of my own list as well as my By the Decade Challenge.
The Good: I have to admit, this book was scary. Written in 1949, it's George Orwell's imagining of a dystopian future where Big Brother is the ultimate control freak. Those in power, the Inner Party, control the actions of their own ranks and those of the the Outer Party who could also be termed, the Middle Class.
The world has split into three super governments. Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia with a constant war brewing between one or the other. This book take place in Oceania and concerns one Winston Smith. We watch as he suffers through a life where a telescreen (read creepy camera surveillance) watches his every move and monitors his heartbeat and facial expressions for anything that could indicate he might be a dissedent.
People dissapear every day in his life and everything is regulated. The Inner Party is even writing dictionaries to limit and dictate what people can talk about. Every subsequent dictionary is smaller, because the party believes that by controlling words they can control thought. After all, if you never heard the word 'lemon' would you ever know what it was? Scary stuff.
What I liked was how accessible this book was even after almost 60 years. While some parts seemed quite archaic I found the piece quite modern and easy to read.
The Bad:The story was moving along at a quick pace and then immediately started to bog down when Winston started reading the book. The story immediately started to drag and I got bored with all of his technical gobbledegook that didn't move the story along.
The Ugly: Orwell completely lost me at the end. It was as if his tightly wound and compact story had unravelled and he glued and taped together what he could.
When I reached Part 3 I assumed the story would pick up again and quickly come to a conclusion. Things only got more confusing, especially where O'Brien was concerned. And Winston's part at the end felt as if it was skimmed over. The very ending was a little surreal as well, though I don't know if it was meant to be. If anyone can explain what exactly happened I'd appreciate it.
The sad thing is that I really got into this book. I completely devoured it and in the end I was disappointed. I would almost recommend reading up to the point where Winston receives the book and then make up your own ending.
Rating:3.5/5 for not following through with what was a great beginning to a story.