author: George Orwell
genre: dystopian science fiction
first line: It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
rated: An interesting classic.
Written more than 70 years ago, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, his dystopian vision of a government that will do anything to control the narrative is timelier than ever…
Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read
“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit thoughtcrimes. But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching…
A startling and haunting novel, 1984 creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the novel’s hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions—a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.
1984 is usually on assigned reading lists in high school and I’ve read Animal Farm by this author but not this one until now. My daughter had not read this either so dystopian fiction currently being one of her favorite genres, she selected it for us to co-read. She loved it and breezed through it. I found somewhat hard to get through at times but at other times I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.
Written in 1949, 1984 is set in a dystopian future in the year near or about 1984. No one can be certain of the exact date or year because the government A.K.A. the Party controls everything. Narrated by 39 year old Winston, this is a bleak world where there are constant reminders everywhere that BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU. People do not have freedom, the past and history itself continue to be re-written again and again as ordered by the government so no one is truly certain of what has or will happen.
It is Winston’s government assigned job, to write “fake news”. This is a gloomy existence and you can see it on people’s faces, people are not happy or healthy. They live in a world with no joy, may sitting at computers working for hours on end. People are constantly being watched and reported for the slightest thing so that many people just go missing or “vanish” if found guilty of something such as free thought. Your sole existence and purpose is to serve the Party.
Winston thinks for himself and wants change. The story centers around his risking his life in order to see if change possible. He wants to find out if there are others like him. He struggles to remember his life as a child before the current situation and realizes how muddy his memory is since past events are always being re-told by the Party and are ever-changing. I found this part of the story hopeful, that Winston strives for change knowing the change will not occur in his lifetime but for future generations.
The book is separated into 3 sections and are no chapter breaks in 1984. I didn’t like this because it gave a sense of disorientation throughout the story but I can see why the author did this. It adds to the oppressiveness of the storyline.
Having written this in 1949 Orwell was ahead of his time and eerily hit the mark on some of his predictions. Big Brother does watch us at all times and we can be easily tracked without even realizing it. Reminds me of our smartphones and the apps on there, all of which ask for tracking permission. Most people are walking around like zombies, brainwashed into serving the Party whether they like it or not. Overall I found this to be a dark and interesting read (warning) about government, power and a bleak future that somehow seems plausible in several ways. I was surprised at the ending and found that Orwell made his point. I’m glad I finally read 1984.
I’ll close with a few favorite quotes:
“The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.” ― George Orwell, 1984
“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”
“Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”
About the author:
Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language, and a belief in democratic socialism.-quoted from Goodreads
Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of 1984 by George Orwell. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.