As you may have gathered from my rambling praise (see post here) for the inclusion of Fahrenheit 451 on the Amazon and Goodreads Lifetime Reading List, I find this work of Ray Bradbury’s to be more than a five-star book (but unfortunately that’s all the stars I can technically give it).
In a harrowing, possibly-not-too-far-away dystopian nation, Guy Montag is a fireman. That is, he’s a man who starts fires to eliminate books because their content is viewed as pointless, yet dangerous (gaslighting, much?). Guy’s wife, Millie, is wholly immersed in her television programs, essentially brainwashed to the point of being incapable of independent thought. Guy only has one ally, an old professor and rebel reader, who helps Guy escape after he goes completely rogue.
It’s a short book, so I don’t want to give anything away, but I do want to praise (again) how Bradbury wonderfully explored a potential reality for the United States of America. I’m not usually someone who likes to read into futuristic literature too much—after all, I believe in the power of now, and I believe there are enough rebels out there that if we don’t like the way the world is going, all we need to do is band together to change the future’s course before it becomes regrettable history. But that’s the key: joining together.
What I adore about Fahrenheit 451 is that it is a call to action to all of us who live and want to continue to live la vie boheme. It’s a classic work for a good reason, and its message should not be forgotten or ignored. The imagery and symbolism Bradbury employs are poignant, and I truly cannot wait to study this book with my kids (we’re homeschooling) and use the Socratic Method to see their thoughts as members of a generation even further removed from the period in which it was written, and also a generation closer to the day I fear this remarkable work of fiction will become reality.
I strongly recommend this book for adults—it went over my head in high school—who value the arts, individualism, literature, and the preservation of our world’s history, no matter how unflattering it’s been.