1984 by George Orwell

1984George OrwellDystopianSignet ClassicsJune 8, 1949Paperback328

Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell’s nightmare vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff’s attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell’s prescience of modern life–the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language–and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.

I’m 2 days late for the 6th anniversary of my reading this novel, but I’ve been meaning to review this book for forever, so why wait a whole 363 more days to get it right on the 7th anniversary when I can stop wasting time and review it right now?

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) is perhaps my favorite, and most-disturbing, dystopian novel I’ve ever read is definitely this Orwellian classic. And what makes it most terrifying is that so many of the techniques and technologies of this authoritarian government are already here: big TV screens, cameras, etc. And given “the War on Terror” since 9/11/2001 and subsequent Islamophobia in America the Hour of Hate, unfortunately, isn’t that hard to imagine like it once might have. Although, given this novel was published soon after the end of WWII, I suppose that it’s never been that far of a stretch of the imagination (and that’s pretty scary).

What I liked most about this novel is that it shows the harsh reality that the individual doesn’t always triumph over society (like almost all young adult novels show, especially YA dystopians like The Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies—not that I blame them, they’d be too depressing otherwise). This is also sentimental for me because this is one of the first five adult novels I’ve read on my own (not for a class) and definitely makes me feel more mature back then (9th grade). And, with such a chilling last line, how can this story not be permanently ingrained in my memory? I won’t say it here because I hate spoilers as much as the next person.

As one of—if not the father—of the dystopian genre, 1984 is responsible for the long legacy that includes the two aforementioned series (among many others) and my own upcoming novel, The Matchmakers. I’m so glad Orwell wrote this classic—even if it is banned for many reasons all over the globe.

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