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Sunday, 3 December 2017

Book Review: 1984 by George Orwell

In Oceania, the Party scrutinises human actions with the ever-watchful Big Brother. Winston Smith, however, struggles with this oppression and the ban on individuality, leading to him disobeying the government by writing a diary in secret and pursuing a relationship with Julia.


"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

What else is there that can be said about a literary classic such as 1984? A lot of people rank it as one of their all-time favourite books, and although I really enjoyed it, it won't be held in such high esteem for me. I flew through this book in a number of days, which often represents how much I'm enjoying a book - so yes, it was certainly an addictive and captivating read, but I had a couple of issues. 

In my opinion, this book could have been a bit shorter - there were particular parts, especially in the middle of the book, that could have been edited down a lot. There was a lot of repetition and going over things I already knew. And those excerpts from The Book... holy hell, I kept falling asleep in bed when I was reading those parts *snore*. As for the characters themselves, they weren't really likeable or well-developed, like they were fine, but I wasn't overly rooting for them. And the fact that Julia told Winston she loved him when they had yet to even converse... *rolls eyes* I also dislike the fact that Winston tells Julia TO HER FACE that he would like to rape and murder her - talk about wooing a lady... is this how they did it back in the day??

So, yes, although it seems like I have a number of issues with this book, it was still really brilliant. The entire concept was absolutely terrifying and it's scary how much of the ideas initially presented by Orwell in 1984 came to fruition in real life. It's a dark and relentless read, but crucially an important one. Orwell's depiction of a world where the government has total and unchallenged control, they can watch AND HEAR everything you do... if you think for yourself or demonstrate any sign of individuality, you might just be viewed as a traitor to the Party and subsequently "disappear". To live in a world where you are ruled by fear and oppression  - it truly makes my blood run cold.

The ending wasn't necessarily what I expected, or wanted, but it was perfectly bleak. The final line itself - unforgettable. A book everyone should read (just be prepared to be bored out of your tree at points) - 4 stars out of 5!

Johann
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