Written By: Ray Bradbury
Random House Publishing group
Pages: 165 (Paperback)
Reviewed by Tim Miles*Thank you Tim for submitting this review. **All views and opinions mentioned in this review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of The Back Cover.
Fahrenheit 451 is a book I always knew was required reading in some courses throughout my educational experiences. It was never required in any of my course work so I never picked it up to read it. Then my son was picked to be in an honor program at school and this book was one of the options for him to read. I picked it up one day and began reading. I have to say that the metaphor ability of Mr. Bradbury is hardly matched. I thought many of them actually took away from the story. I have to admit there were many times I skipped the metaphors and simply put together the point of the sentence and moved on. That point out of the way a discussion of the reasons this book is on the ALA banned book list can begin.
The irony of this book being on a banned book list is kind of scary given the point of the story. So much can be learned and discovered by considering other’s thoughts and ideas. That is a basic reason most novelists write, to express an original idea or thought. The ability to do so in the midst of story is the art of literature. With that in mind this book is maybe one of the best. The idea we will all decide to do away with books so we can be continually stimulated with technological inputs is amazingly insightful considering tweets, texts, blogs, 24 hour TV, smart phones, IPods and the like. Add that it was written in 1950-53 makes it all the more amazing. If it had come out today it would be scary, because it came out before a home computer was a thought and in the infancy of color television makes it prophetic. I am not saying it is going to happen I just think it is a great discussion facilitator of our fascination with constant stimulation, shortcuts, pursuit of ease in life and technology instead of nature.
After reading this book I can only determine two things possibly making it objectionable. The small amount of cursing is much less than many books commonly read today. The references to bible texts as equal to or only as important as other human literature may be offensive or uncomfortable to some but that is not a reason to keep this book from anyone.
The only thing other than those two issues I can think of is that it hits too close to home for some people. Man’s determination to destroy himself has always been a motivation for artists and until we stop doing so it will probably spur more efforts such as this. This is probably what Bradbury wanted to begin with.