Title: Fahrenheit 451
Author: Ray Bradbury
Published: October 1953
Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.
Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television ‘family’. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people did not live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.
When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.
I originally read this book in high school, but my book club selected it for the group to read in December.
More than a decade later, it was definitely worth the reread! And in late 2017/early 2018, it was downright eerie.
Guy Montag is a firefighter.
Only firefighters don’t fight fires anymore.
They start them.
When someone suspects their neighbor of having books, they make a report to the fire station, and firefighters show up to burn all the books.
Montag has gone through life without questioning his role in the destruction of the printed word. He goes about his day, responding to calls and burning books, and returns home each night, where his wife obsessively watches her “family” on television.
But one day on his way home from work, Montag meets Clarisse, a teenager who just doesn’t quite fit in, and suddenly his eyes are opened to just how strange things are.
When did life become so unfulfilling?
But what happens if he gets caught?
Fahrenheit 451 is a thought-provoking read. I can honestly say that I got more out of it as an adult than I did in high school, but part of that may be my particular interest in dystopian literature and the current political climate. Bradbury builds a believable (and terrifying) world. My only qualm was that the pacing sometimes slowed just enough that it made it difficult to focus on the story at hand. Overall, I highly recommend Fahrenheit 451 to anyone. 4/5 stars.