If you follow my vlog (hint hint?), then you'll know that I recently (as in a month or so ago) read the great classic dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 and...was disappointed.
Guy Montag is a fireman of the future, which means he doesn't stop fires, he starts them. Books of all kinds are illegal (and yet, everyone is still taught to read?), and when books ar discovered, the firemen appear on the scene to destroy all traces. He has always enjoyed his job, but then he meets his new next door neighbor, Clarisse McClellan. After many conversations with her, he suddenly begins to wonder, begins to think, begins to imagine.
Montag's perfect world of order begins to crumble until he barely knows up from down. And, to make it all even worse, he begins reading.
This novel held me in rapt attention all the way to the end, where...it stopped. The last chapter left me with a strange and very unsatisfied feeling, which is a shame because the rest of it was so good.
It was like being Guy Montag. When he's going about his monotonous, grey life, you feel like you really are going about your own monotonous, grey life. When he starts falling into insanity, you feel like clutching your hair and screaming along with him as your brain explodes in confusion. The writing is that good.
I think Ray Bradbury just didn't quite know how to end it, or maybe he was in a hurry and so just scribbled something off without giving it much thought (or hey, maybe he thought it was brilliant), but I'm just not feeling it. It didn't have any of the same atmosphere as the first part of the book and seemed like a random addition that might've made sense if added to another book, but just feels...random. It even touches on the edge of ridiculous.
And the first part was SO GOOD. It's a CRIME against LITERATURE!
Well, maybe not that bad. But you know me and endings. If it's not just right, no matter how good the rest of the book is, it doesn't sit right in my mind. Once again, if you want a truly amazing dystopian novel, I have to point you in the direction of Unwind by Neal Shusterman.
While I do agree that Fahrenheit 451 is an important piece of classic literature, and I can understand why it's on so many reading lists, I do not think it is one of the best books ever. I can think of better dystopian novels (with way better endings), and other authors who can not only write an amzing beginning and middle, but also an end. So perhaps it is worth a quick read, but it's not destined to end up on my bookshelf.
You might like this if you: like dystopian novels; want to read all the "great works of literature"; read for excellent writing; or if you find it on your required reading list for school.