Saturday, October 18, 2014

80. "Animal Farm" by George Orwell

Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York: Plum, 2003.

152 pages.

Reviewed by J. d’Artagnan Love

It is difficult to review a book as renown as Animal Farm. Originally published in 1945, Orwell’s seminal novel has been studied and read and reviewed enough times that there is little chance I have anything original to add to the conversation at this point. So why write a review?

Well, dear readers, I write this review to perhaps introduce an important work of art which some may not have previously known. I write this review to encourage a broad range of reading. “Beach reads” and reading for entertainment’s sake is a good thing. Reading to learn and to critically think about the work from a socio-political framework is also a good thing. I write this review to encourage my readers to challenge yourselves. Read something that is difficult for you. Read something that makes you uncomfortable. Read something that makes you think about the world differently.

Animal Farm is a novel that has the power to meet all of those challenges. It will challenge you to think critically about the story for it is not just a story about farm animals but of Orwell’s larger political landscape. It may be difficult for some of you to read. Perhaps you will identify with some of the negative behaviors presented in the characters. Animal Farm may make you uncomfortable for that exact reason. It hits close to home and cracks open some societal wounds that are difficult to stare down. Orwell might make you think of the world differently or he might make you feel afraid because the fiction is so much melded with the truth.

It is not enough to just read the book. It can be read in a matter of hours. It is short and simplistic in style. Simply reading it does not do it justice. Read it and digest it. Do half an hour of research about it to elucidate the larger symbols. Discuss it with someone. Think about it. Let it simmer. Re-read it. Read this book to learn, not just to be entertained. It’s worth it. Trust me.

“Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which” – George Orwell, Animal Farm

5 darts out of 5

Bookshelf Project Status: KEEP

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