Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury book coverGenre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Published: 1953
Reviewer Rating: four and a half stars
Book Review by Sara Lunsford

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“The classic bestseller about censorship.”

At least, that is what it states on the cover of the book. Those words are a disservice to the very soul of the work. To neatly and quite obtusely mash an allegory of the survival of humanity into a plain little box is total anathema.

Censorship is a theme, but it not the objective. Of course the idea of burning books is awful and the outrage of being told what to read parlays into being told what to think. Firemen that are seen as modern day saviors are frightening in the form presented, as they court the flame instead of stalking it. This by itself is awful, but in today’s society and our way of thought, it is the cherry flavor in the NyQuil. It is a way to force the bitter pill of enlightenment down with the fear that titillates to a state of overindulgence.

The books represent the heart and spirit of mankind, literally and figuratively. By taking these, we are made into automatons. It is yet another step down the path, where, at the end lies our humanity. The human spirit prevails, though we are self-destructive. Perhaps not easily or with great revolution, but it does endure. They took away those microcosms of our being and there are those that endure not just with simple survival, but they are blooming with that which was taken. That is where Bradbury leads us.

I think that this piece is as relevant to society today as it was when it was written. Perhaps it is even more significant now with all of the technological crutches available to us and the increasing distance that we put between ourselves and actual human contact.

I would recommend this to anyone. If one is not looking to be enlightened, the cherry flavoring is tasty and entertaining. I first read this book in middle school and adored it. Now that I am older and more literary, it remains a classic with plenty of nuances to consider, explore and scrutinize.

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