Overview from www.bn.com:Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires…
The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning … along with the houses in which they were hidden.
Guy Montag enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames… never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid.
Then he met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think… and Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do!
I had planned on reading one of Ray Bradbury’s novels for a long time. I was curious about his style since I had heard he’d appeared at various writing groups in my area and I knew that he was a famous writer. The problem was that he was known for writing Sci-Fi which is not one of my favorite genres, though I am learning to like it more these days. I think this is the primary reason I avoided reading his work.
I admired his gifts as a writer as well as his willingness to help others. He seemed like a great guy. I finally decided to read Mr. Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 when I heard about his recent passing. I wish now that I’d done it sooner. Perhaps I might have met him at one of those events and told him how much I appreciated his work. For though I can’t say that this is one of my favorite novels, there is definitely something there.
Negative comments first. I got lost at times in this story; that was the downside for me. Also it was short though I am not sure that making it longer would have made it better—probably not. But once I got past my confusion and started to understand it better, I came to appreciate it.
As someone in one the videos below said, it isn’t primarily a novel about censorship, though I do believe that it plays a role in the story. The novel focuses more on the dumbing down of society. Television was the future when Mr. Bradbury wrote this novel and he believed that if we as humans allowed it to, it would soon do our thinking for us.
It looks to me like he was absolutely right. While I have found that some things that I have seen on television and in the movies have made me use my noggin more (those are some of my favorites by the way), most are better suited to make you veg out.
Don’t get me wrong. Vegging out can be a good thing sometimes, in small doses. But the majority of the time it does not seem to be a good thing. Look at this Reality TV craze that we seem to be experiencing lately. Does it really do anyone’s brain any good? Probably not.
So you see that Mr. Bradbury had it exactly right. His character, Guy Montag, is not how we are used to seeing firemen. He burns things rather than putting them out. And he is perfectly content doing this. It takes his wife’s suicide attempt as well as conversations with various unconventional people in the story to make him realize what he and the rest of society has lost.
In an attempt to get it back, he visits an old professor he once knew. He asks him about the books, the Bible specifically. He only begins to find the path he wants to go down when his world is turned upside down and he is wanted for murder—murder and hiding books.
Where will he end up? I wanted to know so I kept reading and though the ending wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, I appreciated the book for what it was. So if you’re looking for a book that makes you think, you’ll enjoy this one. If you’re looking to veg out, try the Kardashians. That is, if you can stand them.
Contains: some swear words, a little bit of violence.
P.S. Mr. Bradbury thanks for inspiring me to write every day and to use my mind. RIP. You’ve earned it.
Two videos follow. The first is of Mr. Bradbury talking about where he got the idea to write this novel. The second one is from Barnes and Noble about the real message of the novel.