Simon & Schuster, 2003, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of publication
Also, 2013, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of publication
“Book paper catches fire at 451 degrees Fahrenheit.” With that quote within one of three intros by the author, the reader is off on a futuristic novel, a dystopian novel before they were so popular, and in a time and place that even 62 years later is as real today as it was when it was written.
This is one of my favorite quotes in the book (from the original introduction written in 1966): “For while Senator McCarthy has been long dead, the Red Guard in China comes alive and idols are smashed, and books, all over again, are thrown to the furnace. So it will go, one generation printing, another generation burning, yet another remembering what is good to remember so as to print again.” Sounds like today’s world, doesn’t it?
• Guy Montag, a fireman who starts fires, rather that stops them, is somewhat happy with his life until a chance encounter with a young woman throws his whole life out of balance
• Clarisse McClellan, a 17-year old girl whom Montag meets and somehow manages to expand his narrow vision of the world
• Captain Beatty, fire chief in the station house, a tricky fellow, sees dissatisfaction in Montag and acts on it
• Mildred Montag, Guy’s wife, is perfectly happy with her world of audio-Seashell broadcasting (think earbuds + digital music) and her “family” in the parlor (think pre-scripted interactive reality shows on wall-sized televisions) and doesn’t understand what is wrong with Guy, and why he can’t just be ‘normal’ (think numb to the world)
• Mr. Faber, former liberal arts professor, an old man Montag meets at a park a year before the crisis in his life, and whom he turns to in time of need
• The Book People, a group of men Montag meets on his run from the law, outcasts from and forgotten by society, they hold within their fragile minds the only evidence of books that were committed to memory and then burned, holding on to the past for some future generation
There have been a ton of reviews on this book. No review can really do it justice except mine:
Read this book.
If you care about censorship, read this book.
If you care about the freedom of expression, read this book.
If you care about the future, read this book.
I stand with Bradbury when he says “For it is a mad world and it will get madder if we allow the minorities, be they dwarf or giant, orangutan or dolphin, nuclear-head or water conservationist, pro-computerologist or Neo-Luddite, simpleton or sage, to interfere with aesthetics. The real world is the playing ground for each and every group, to make or unmake laws. But the tip of the nose of my books or stories or poems is where their rights end and my territorial imperatives begin, run and rule.” Pg 211, 2013 edition
Rating: 5 out of 5 paws
I am ashamed to admit my mom had never read this book until now. We decided to read it because it is part of a program through the library called, 7 Cities, 1 Book, where all 7 cities in our area focus on one book through crafts, activities, book clubs, and by screening the movie in each city (for free!). Usually the VB library focuses on one book or author at least one month out of the year and has a craft or two, book clubs meet to discuss it and so on; one year it was Edgar Allen Poe’s writings and another was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (we’ve read this book a few times, but haven’t yet reviewed it here. Oh, goody! That means we get to read it again to review!)
Quotes in Poems
the petals of a flower.
Light the first page,
light the second page. Each
a black butterfly.
(poem structure, S. Ayne) pg 105, 2003 edition
Guilty of Silence
the way things
were going, a long time
I said nothing.
I’m one of the innocents who
could have spoken
up and out
when no one would listen
to the ‘guilty,’ but
I did not speak
thus became guilty
(poem structure, S. Ayne) Pg 110, 2003 edition
(poem structure, S. Ayne) Pg 110, 2013 edition
Outside the house,
a shadow moved,
an autumn wind
and faded away. But
there was something
else in the silence
that he heard. It was
the window. It was
the motion of a
single huge October leaf
The Hound, he thought.
It’s out there
It’s out there
If I opened the
He did not
(poem structure, S. Ayne) pg 45, 2013 edition