REVIEW: Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
I’m afraid I will never be able to review this book right. Was it good? Incredible. Was it hard? Also. Am I happy I read it? Definitely. Did it make me happy? Absolutely not.
The first time I picked it up, I only made it 20 pages in. The second time I started with a lot more conviction and still struggled to make it through Part I. Part one was important and strong, but getting into a totalitarian world like that didn’t make me happy, which made my progress slow.
I actually didn’t know much about the book before going in. I knew it was famous, I had to read it. I knew about Big Brother and his watchful eyes, and that Amazon had all its copies sold when Trump was elected president. The intensity surprised me. I hadn’t expected the book to make me happy, nor had I expected the ending to be good. Even so, the book exceeded my expectations. It didn’t make me happy at all, but it definitely made me feel. The ending was not unexpected yet felt like a punch in the gut. It was not what I hoped, and even not what I had initially thought possible, and made the book all the stronger.
I feel like reading this made me a bit lost. Lost for words, yes, but maybe lost in general. Or maybe it makes me feel as if I’ve lost. Me, or we, society in general. The tale of a well-written, hopeless world that I never want to live in, never want to experience. But rather than make me ready to fight, rather than encouraging my spirit, to try and make sure this world will never happen, it also made me resigned. I am not saying that is all the book gave me, but now, right after finishing, it feels like resigning in hopelessness is the logical thing to do. I’ve lost. What a strange feeling, and testament of a strong book.
On the other hand, it is eye opening, made my brain work even if it didn’t want to, and made me warier and cautioned. Alternate facts, I’ve got my eye on you.
The use of language and words was very interesting, and as someone who loves those, I was glad the appendix was included. It was interesting to see how much your range of words can influence your range of thoughts, and is as no other a motivation to read more and expand beyond your usual genres or topics. I loved reading more about how words or their absence can make nuances disappear and thoughts become unthinkable, because not only the words, but also the ideas they represented, were lacking. The integration of this, the appendix, but also a world with a new language, a language with so many political reasons and messages in it, the explanation and analyzation of doublethink, the language in general, is one of the reasons, to me, why this book is such a masterpiece.
Interesting also to have it after such a dark and hopeless ending, giving a bit of power and fight back to the reader. Explanation and judgement of what happened in Oceania, and in combination with the introduction provided in this edition, turning a little light back on. We fear and we hope at the same time, but believe so fiercely that we’re willing to fight for things again, and gone is part of that devastating resignation from before.
I don’t know what to say about this book as a book. It is a novel, but also an essay, hence my loss of words at the start and combination of comments on both the book as novel and the content as essay. I feel it’s up for debate how well it is as a novel. The characters are sometimes bland, the first part hard to read and the pages upon pages of Goldstein’s ideas that suddenly show up in the middle, however strong and interesting, can throw you off. However, it’s a very strong essay, and those issues are not that much issues anymore if you look at the book in that light. An interesting combination of the two, and powerful even if you think the novel isn’t.