Books, Review

Review: Animal Farm – George Orwell *****

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Mr. Jones of Manor Farm is so lazy and drunken that one day he forgets to feed his livestock. The ensuing rebellion under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball leads to the animals taking over the farm. Vowing to eliminate the terrible inequities of the farmyard, the renamed Animal Farm is organized to benefit all who walk on four legs. But as time passes, the ideals of the rebellion are corrupted, then forgotten. And something new and unexpected emerges…

This was a reread for me but it had been so long since I last read it that I only remembered the general story. I was happy to find that this little book managed to surprise me all over again.

In case you didn’t know, this book borrows a lot from the Russian Revolution and the Stalinist era. Once you know the most important historical players, it’s easy to recognise them in this story.

But even if you don’t want to look into the history, you can still enjoy the story in itself.

The basic idea is that the animals at Animal Farm want to escape the brutal Mr. Jones, so they take the farm for themselves and kick the farmer out. All the other farms around them are convinced that the animals will starve in no time but they manage to pull through and make it work. However, it’s not as great as it may seem.
The pigs have taken control over the farm because they can read and make plans, while the other animals can’t manage the alphabet so they decide to make things as simple as possible. For example: “Four legs good, two legs bad.” and “All animals are equal.”
But after a while, the pigs start changing the rules to benefit them and the other animals have no choice but to accept these changes because of course “they don’t want Jones back, do they?”
So does it surprise anyone when things get worse and worse until you can’t be sure if they are actually better off than they were before. In the end it always comes down to the same thing: All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Orwell is a master in writing stories that draw you in and once you start reading, you can’t stop.

I really enjoy this kind of story. I felt the same way when reading High-Rise by JG Ballard, Lord of the Flies by William Golding and of course 1984 by George Orwell. It’s that kind of story that starts slow and before you know it, everthing is going wrong.

The many layers in this book, make it a great read for a wide range of people. I’m pretty sure that everyone can get something out of it. Whether you read it as a fairytale or with a historical eye, the story remains great no matter what. Plus, it’s a great one to reread and discover little details you missed last time.

Love

Ellen

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Books, Review

1984 – George Orwell ****

Big bros and sis

It took me a while to finish this book. Not because I didn’t like it, but I guess some book you just read slower than others.
When I finally turned the last page, I was completely shocked by what I had read.

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But let’s start at the beginning.
This book is a classic. It had been sitting on my shelf for a long time and I always said that I would pick it up next but there were always other books. While I was reading this book, I also started and finished at least three other books.
This book tells you the story of Winston Smith who works at the Ministry of Truth. His job is to falsify facts to support the power of the Party. People disappear all the time and when they do, Winston erases all the traces of that persons existence. Or he changes dates or names, in other words everything that needs changing to make it seem as if the Party is always right.
There are other employees who do this job without thinking twice about it, but Winston realizes what is happening and is not so keen on the way things are. So he starts dreaming about rebellion againstΒ Big Brother and his Party.

Needles to say, things go from bad to worse. There were moments in this book where I was absolutely disgusted. Part of the story is about breaking a person both physically and mentally until nothing of that person’s self remains and he has become a puppet for the Party.

I did like the intricacy of the story. There were so many layers to it and the details are amazing. George Orwell invented a world with a new language (the explanation to this language is in the back of my book, so I read that first). Even though it’s fiction, it’s real enough for you to believe it. This world is a possibility, I just hope it will never come to that because it’s definitely not a world I want to live in.

One of the most interesting layers of the story was how the human brain works in stress situations. It’s not something I normally give a lot of thought to but I found it amazing to realize that you could actually brainwash people using pain, misery and fear. Once again not something I want to see happening..

The only things I didn’t like was the part where they quote a few pages from a book about the Party and what’s happened to the world. I know that this shows you the history of the party and it helps you understand what happened but I really didn’t feel like reading a text-book, I was longing for some action πŸ˜‰ So I scanned over it rather than read it in dept, sorry (I’m not sorry)..

Have you read 1984? You haven’t? Well, you probably should πŸ™‚
It’s a really good book and it makes you think about the world you live in.
(I also really liked Animal Farm, just to throw it out there…)

What is your favorite classic?
Any you want to recommend?

Love

Ellen

Cover Picture @ Pinterest