Friday, 27 September 2013

Book REVIEW: "1984" by George Orwell **GUEST POST**

The Book: 

The Blurb: 
Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell's chilling prophecy about the future. And while the year 1984 has come and gone, Orwell's narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions. A legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time
Picture and text from

The Write Up: 

I first heard of this book when I was in school, a passing reference made by my English teacher when I was either too young or too ignorant to pick up on what he was saying. After that I forgot about it until 2000 when Channel 4 spawned the reality TV show Big Brother, this time I may even have googled the title to understand the reference but after that it reclaimed it's place in the back of my mind only to be found again by accident whilst on holiday in August 2013 when I finished the book I was currently reading on my Kindle and was searching through the hundreds (literally) of books I have stored on there waiting for something to grab me. This time for some inexplicable reason 1984 jumped out at me and by half way down the first page it had grabbed me by the throat. 

I'm going to be somewhat of a spoil sport with this review and I am not going to reveal any spoilers as I genuinely don't want to ruin the impact of this exceptional novel should you choose to read it yourself.

After a global atomic war the world is divided into three super powers who continue to wage war unceasingly. The story is told from Airstrip One (formerly London) through the eyes and ears of low ranking Outer Party member Winston Smith.

Society is divided into 4 levels

and INGSOC is the only way to live: 

INGSOC = English Socialism in 'Newspeak' the language of The Party

1984 tells the worryingly prophetic story of a society which is constantly under surveillance, every where people go, even in their own homes they are watched through telescreens, monitored by The Party. Behaviour, conversations and even words spoken in your sleep are monitored closely for any sign of rebellion inlcuding the worst crime of all, Thoughtcrime. In Oceania even your own children are trained from a young age to report their parents for even the slightest hint of thoughtcrime. 

The Party control everything, eating, drinking, sleeping and working. They have eliminated freedom, thinking, sex, and any shred of individuality within a person. Newspeak is standardising communication to prevent true expression and to reduce communication to a bare minimum form, used only when necessary. 

History is constantly rewritten with startling precision which can see a 'rebel' eliminated with no proof of their existence remaining in a matter of minutes. This is Winston's job. He works in the ministry of truth where he alters records by order of the party. He is growing increasingly frustrated with the oppression of the party and constant surveillance of Big Brother. His rebellion begins with the illegal purchase of a diary where he writes his loathings of big brother and snippets of memories from a time 'before'. 

Winston is ultimately hunted by the Thought police and discovers what horrors lay within the dreaded Room 101. 

The Review: 

My Goodreads review of this book simply reads: 

How have I never read this before? What an incredibly powerful book.

I always expected 1984 to be the kind of novel you read in school as a teenager, one that droned on and on and left you with a feeling of despair at having to write an essay about it. I didn't find that at all. The book hooked me in from the very start, the notion of the thought police and the all too familiar use of surveillance cameras is chilling. 

I can understand why some on goodreads give this novel only one or two stars, it is terrifying because you can see that Orwell's vision of the future could happen! He writes with precision and his brutal commentary on the evolution of modern society is incredible. He writes of a society which eradicates love and incites ferocious anger, which uses fear to garner respect and one which has destroyed everything that makes life worth living by the need for control. 

Despite being written in 1948 this book is the most disturbing and most memorable vision of political control that I have ever and most likely WILL ever read. 

It receives 5 stars from me on Goodreads. 

I highly recommend it to anyone and urge you to stick with it when at times it feels a little too much. A poignantly powerful book that will stay with you forever. 

Thank you so much for reading.
If you liked this review please check out my blog: WhatJennaThought

My topics include: 
mental health, books, reviews, health and beauty, fertility & getting married. 
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  1. Wow I love books and I never heard of this but I'm now putting it on my too read list which is ever growing lol.

  2. Well written review of a 20th century classic. I read this book at uni and of course we delved deeply into ever nook and cranny, but I think it can be read by anyone, even those not politically motivated. It's a shame teacher's in secondary schools don't make this book as interesting, as it actually is, to today's kids. I think there are lessons to be learned from it, on where society is rapidly headed, particularly now even the neigh sayers have to admit THEY actually are watching us, thanks to Ed Snowden.
    Thanks for a reminder of what a great book this is xx

  3. I'm not a book reader, it has to be really interesting for me to stay with it. Might give this one a go though :)

  4. I've never actually read the book either. I know OF it but not read. After this fab review it's deffo on my very soon to be read pile.
    Thanks Jenna, and please you're welcome back anytime to bring great reviews for books!!!
    Thanks so much for taking the time, you're a star xxx

  5. A very interesting read about a bleak future with no privacy. One of the best books I've read. I just wish it was longer since I wanted more.
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  6. 1984 is by no means a light or fun read, but it is a read that will encourage serious thought and reflection about the world we live in and the motivations of those in power. An emotionally powerful book that will draw you in, chew you up, and spit you out. And before the Thought Police get too upset by my review here, I would like to assure everyone that I am very proud to be an American, and I love my country. Even with our more and more limited freedoms.

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