I picked this book up from a shop in Portsmouth a few years ago and it was on my christmas reading list; then I changed my mind and decided to read Garfield and Horrible Histories instead (don’t judge me) and finally got round to reading it about a year later. I remember I started it at 9pm Thursday night and finished it 7am Friday morning. Now it’s not unusual for me to stay up through the night; but it’s never to finish a book (it’s usually for noodles or to try and figure out what went wrong at various stages of my life).
For those unfamiliar with this book the plot is this: in the not-to-distant future books have been made illegal and fireman go around burning them and arresting anybody who possesses them. No matter how bleak this book got though it couldn’t make me feel worse than it did in the first few chapters. You’re introduced to this character called Clarise who is just simply awesome. She reminded me so much of this girl I used to go to college with. So I was sitting there getting used to this simply adorable character, then she dies. Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury? No, Fuck you!
But maybe the fact I thought that was a good thing. It showed the emotional depth the book had; it stopped you thinking of these people as characters and it seemed more like a journal; the events were actually happening and everything had consequences (as opposed to poorly written books where you’re constantly aware that they are books, so the characters don’t effect you that much as you don’t see them as people; more cliche’s of people).
This book also is related to some brilliant mistakes. First off; the title. It’s called Fahrenheit 451 as that’s the temperature which books burn at. Well it’s supposed to be; but it’s not. The temperature at which paper combusts is actually 450 Celsius. The other mistake was not one made by the author but by the audience. For years people said it was about censorship, but it’s actually about interest in books dwindling because of television. It’s got to the point now where people go up to the author and tell him he’s wrong about his own book and it really is about censorship. Proving that just because you can read a book doesn’t make you intelligent; in fact it can make you think you’re smarter which actually makes you dumber as you can’t be taught.
Anyway I’m rambling; so yeah in summary a rather awesome book which contained one of my favourite lines in a book:
“why waste your final hours running around your cage denying you’re a squirrel?”
Seems so boosh-like. Oh, and I also LOVE this paragraph;
“Go home and think of your first husband divorced and your second husband blowing his brains out, go home and think of the dozen abortions you’re had, go home and think of that and your damn Caesarian sections, too, and your children who hate your guts! Go home and think how it all happened and what did you ever do to stop it?”
One of the harshest sentences I’ve ever read; yet also one of the most beautiful