Monday, 3 December 2012

BOOK REVIEW: 1984 by George Orwell

Title: 1984
Author: George Orwell
This edition: Anniversary Edition, Paperback, Penguin Books (2009)
Pages: 355
Tagline: 'War is peace, Freedom is slavery, Ignorance is strength'

"Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell's chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell's narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.(Goodreads)
My thoughts...
I read The Hunger Games about three years ago and fell in love with the dystopian genre; since then I have read many of the countless other dystopians that seem to have recently flooded the YA genre. Seriously. I have read A LOT of dystopians, and A LOT of them have been amazing, and I have loved A LOT of them. So, it was probably about time that I read a classic dystopian, I thought. 1984 was the obvious choice (and I intend to read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley sometime soon too.) 
I know that a lot of teenagers will be deterred by the idea of ‘classics’ – for some, they conjure up the image of musty, old-fashioned books – but I loved 1984. It was completely on a whole different level to all the ‘modern dystopians’ I have been reading recently. Not to discredit any of those at all, but 1984 honestly is in a league of its own.

The world created by Orwell is fascinating and so plausibly and realistically portrayed that I felt, not like I was reading a fictional novel, but a real, non-fiction account of what actually happened in 1984. That’s how believable Orwell’s writing was. I think what may have added to the depth of the dystopian world created in 1984, as opposed to other dystopians I have read, was that there was a political background and reasoning given for how things were the way they were.

I found it absolutely fascinating to contemplate some of the concepts of the 1984 world. Could it really be possible to keep a whole population docile by limiting their vocabulary, thus not giving them a means to express any disagreement or dissent? Could it really be possible to effectively wipe out everyone’s memory of the past by continually changing it to fit whatever version of events the government wished to tell? Would people actually accept this? Would they, or the majority at least, remain oblivious to what the government was doing?

This dystopian world that Orwell created is one of the most shocking I have read about, and it is made all the more terrifying by how realistically it is portrayed. I strongly recommend this to anyone who enjoys the dystopian genre, and, in fact, to anyone who wishes simply to read a truly praiseworthy novel.


  1. Brilliant review, Catherine! :) I haven't really been interested in this before but now I have added it to my wishlist. I love the idea of a dystopian classic :) I'm glad you enjoyed it; thanks for sharing your thoughts :) xx

  2. I'm probably going to have to read this at some point for school, so it's nice to know it's a good one. I have actually recently read Animal Farm which was pretty interesting. I liked how it related to the Russian revolution. Also, to answer this question: "Could it really possible to effectively wipe out everyone’s memory of the past by continually changing it to fit whatever version of events the government wished to tell? Would people actually accept this?" I believe that if you tell a lie long enough, it will become the truth.

  3. I think I'm going to have to pick this one up! I love dystopians, and while I usually shy away from classics, this is actually one that I'm interested in! I've read a George Orwell book before, so I should be able to enjoy this one. I think it's cool that this dystopian world is so plausible, that's always the most chilling about dystopians--the fact that it could happen to us! Great review, Catherine!

  4. Can you believe I haven't read this? I've always thought of this as one of those books everyone has to try, but I've never once cracked open a copy. I'm glad you were impressed with this book. Brilliant review!

  5. Whereas most teenagers would turn up their noses if they were to be put in a dusty library, personally, that would be my heaven! I just love the concept of old, dust covered hardbacks that you can pull off of a dusty shelf. :')

    Brilliant review! I'm a dystopian fanatic so I'm really intrigued... I mean, a book that was written in the past at the time where 1984 was in the future and... well now that year's gone by! I really want to see what sort-of vision of the future the author had had at that time.

    I'll hopefully be giving it a go soon! :D

    PS: So sorry for me being AWOL due to schoolwork - hope you didn't think I was ditching you or anything?! :3 xx

  6. So, I read this book as an assigned reading back in school, and I think it was one of the first books that really made an impression on me! It was my first dystopian, back when I didnt even know what that word meant!!

    Fantastic review!!
    -Theresa Jones

  7. Haven't stopped by your blog in a while so I'm having a little browse :D

    I'm glad you enjoyed this so much and that you think it's in a league of its own. I agree that the world Orwell created was really believable as if it was an actual non-fiction account but I didn't love it. We've just recently finished studying it in English and it was just too confusing for me... Maybe if I'd read it for fun and not studied it in loads of depth, I would have enjoyed it more.

    Great review, Catherine!

  8. After reading this I feel I need to go through it again. I don't wish to spoil anything but this book left me with a profound sense of sadness. I hope this work of fiction never comes true.
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  9. This is one of those classics that I never got around to reading while in high school (it was required, but I just didn't read it ;)... At the request of a colleague I picked this book up last year and was blown away by point of the book. In the chaotic and unclear times we live in, I recommend this book to anyone and everyone who wants to understand what the point of the elite is and what the point of government is. Everything is about control and power ... AND KEEPING IT. We live in the novel 1984 ... and that's scary. Should be required reading for all Americans.

    7.3 Injector


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