Saturday, July 29, 2017

[Book Review] Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Book Review of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I am so thrilled that I finally got around to rereading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury! I, like many others, first read this book in high school. From that time, I remembered only that it was a sci-fi about burning books. I knew I had liked the book a lot, but that I wasn't thrilled about how we had to break up the reading to discuss it in chunks.

So what did I think the second time around? Let's dive in!

Note: There will be spoilers!

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Goodreads Synopsis:
Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television "family." But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear, and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide, and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.

My thoughts:
Phew! I cannot believe how much of this book I didn't remember! It was almost like reading it for the first time.

In this review, rather than talking about plot, writing style, and et cetera, I thought I'd just discuss some of the characters; who they are, what I remembered from my first read, and what I thought about them on my second read.

Guy Montag
Our main character. A 30 year old man that has been working as fireman for 10 years. One day he meets an interesting person, Clarissa, and then his world suddenly begins to change.

What I remember:
Only that he ends up snagging a book while on assignment one day.

My thoughts this time:
I totally forgot how his dialogue and thoughts ramble on at times because of his stress levels and confusion! This was especially the case when he was sick. I also cannot believe how I completely forgot about the burning situation with Beatty, and then Guy running.

Clarissa McClellan
17 year old girl. Guy's neighbor. Calls herself peculiar. She is very inquisitive and gets Guy thinking.

What I remember:
I remember her being in the street but then suddenly disappearing.

My thoughts this time:
I did not remember that she may have gotten hit by a car and killed.

Mildred Montag
Guy's wife. Overdosed on sleeping pills one night and then acted like it didn't happen. Very hooked on tech. Has anger problems.

What I remember:

My thoughts this time:
WOW! I cannot believe I forgot all about Mildred! Phew! What an intense character she was. I wish we had gotten to know a bit more about her and Guy's relationship.

Used to be a professor. Met Guy one day in a park. In current tines, Guy went to Faber's house to discuss printing copies of books. Faber became his go-to guy.

What I remember:
Unfortunately, nothing!

My thoughts this time:
I loved the ear-tech aspect. I'm so glad that he was able to help Guy with use of that device, especially because Guy really needed the help!

Guy's boss at the firehouse. Quotes a lot of literature and poetry.

What I remember:

My thoughts this time:
I loved the very stressful moment in Guy's bedroom where Beatty discusses firemen and how they all slip from time to time.

The Mechanical Hound
A metal beast with eight spider legs and a four inch hollow steel needle that injects others with morphine or procaine to disable them for capture/kill.

What I remember:

My thoughts this time:
HOW SPOOKY IS THIS CHARACTER?! I read this book one night before bed and actually had a nightmare about this thing. I totally forgot all about it and it's tracking abilities! 

Other thoughts:
I also forgot that all of the firemen are said to look similar; Black hair, black brows, a fiery face, and a blue-steel shaved but unshaved look. But I still wonder if this was an actual characteristic of the people, or if it was a result of their jobs.

Favorite passages:
It was a pleasure to burn.

The autumn leaves blew over the moonlit pavement in such a way as to make the girl who was moving there seen fixed to a sliding sidewalk, letting the motion of the wind and the leaves carry her forward.

She made the empty rooms roar with accusation and shake down a fine dust of guilt that was sucked in their nostrils as they plunged about.

Books bombarded his shoulders, his arms, his upturned face. A book lit, almost obediently, like a white pigeon, in his hands, wings fluttering. In the gym, wavering light, a page hung open and it was like a snowy feather, the words delicately painted thereon.

He held both hands over his eyes and applied a study pressure there as if to crush memory into place.

"Are things like that in books? But it came off the top of my mind!"
"All the better. You didn't fancy it up for me or anyone, even yourself."

"...Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of savings, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for the shore."

But that's the wonderful thing about man; he never get so discouraged or disgusted that he gives up doing it all over again, because he knows very well it is important and worth the doing.

My final thoughts:
This will always be one of my favorite classics. 5 stars!

Thanks for reading!
If you were to memorize just one book to keep it's story alive forever, which one would you choose?


  1. Oh my goodness I have forgotten so much about this book! I read it, like you, in high school but as a freshman, so it's been around four years. But I never actually finished the whole thing (I know, I know!) so I'm not surprised I forgot so much. Hopefully one day I will read Fahrenheit 451 again and actually appreciate it. :)

    1. It was a great reread for sure! Maybe you can find time to give it another go before the movie comes out! :)

  2. I don't think I remember this book that much either, but I did love it a lot.

    Deanna Reads Books

  3. for some reason I've been thinking about this book lately. Not sure why I have never read it!!!