Fahrenheit 451 is Ray Bradbury’s fiery novel about a man with relationship problems and a secret possession he keeps from his employer and the authorities. The only essential difference between it and the superior 1984 is that novel is about reading books instead of the news and Orwell calls tv’s “telescreens” to sound like more of a space hipster.
A lot of books nowadays try really hard to relate to audiences, but I think Bradbury’s does so in a really natural and compelling way. For example, when the main character Guy Montag’s wife tries to kill herself with sleeping pills, I was so bored at the time I was rummaging through my medicine cabinet trying to do the same exact thing. And when the old woman opts to be burned in her house alive with her books, I was contemplating taking a kerosene bath and joining her to get out of finishing this book.
The story takes a turn for the worst when Guy gets in an argument with two of his wife Mildred’s friends over the meaningfulness of poetry. Although he can’t read, SURELY Guy has experienced white sitcoms on the massive tvs or in the “Seashell Radio” attached to everyone’s ears. If so, he’d know the only thing people do at book clubs is pretend to have read the book, vaguely talk about some points they read on Sparknotes, and get day drunk off the host’s wine. If I was forced into the gruesome act of having to think about a book and explain it to someone else, I’d probably have my friend turn her husband in too!
Personally, I think the main character Guy Montag just seems ways too comfortable will killing people. I mean, he got in a disagreement with his boss and the logical next thing to do is to incinerate him with a flamethrower. In the future, the old fashioned way of holding a silent grudge and waiting months to exact your overly dramatic revenge on someone must not be a thing anymore.
Following in the footsteps of other dystopian novels, Fahrenheit 451 uses painfully obvious pseudo-puns in order to convey a deeper meaning, like Bradbury’s “firemen” who burn illegal books. Get it? Because it’s like they’re men who start fires instead of putting them out…but they’re still called firemen. Honestly it’s so deep I didn’t catch it the first time through.
I’d love to go into more detail about the book, but in a tragic twist of fate Fahrenheit 451 and all the other terrible books were unfortunately burned to the ground. This is the future after all, and when all the print books were turned into digital ones Ray Bradbury and 50 Shades didn’t make the cut.
However, this heavily redacted page was recovered from the burning wreckage and restored by our archivists here at Tomestone. Note the haunting poetry, the deep metaphors, the complex ideas. If you’d like to hear a performance of this masterpiece, we worked with local indie artists to release it on iTunes. We chose the title “Lemonade” because while it may appear bitter, the end result was very sweet.
While this book fizzles out at a 3/10, we give the audio version done by Houston street performer Bee On Say a well-deserved 10/10.
This review was sponsored by one of our Tomestone fans Eric T. If you have any idea for a book you’d like for us to write about, fill out the “contact” form on our home page and give us a tip!
Alex has an honorary doctorate from the Kim Dan Institute of Higher Learning in Book Reviews. He is also working on becoming ordained as a minister online.