Good afternoon readers and writers, bloggers and fiction fans!
Among the many book review requests still left to do in September, I also thought I’d post a book that I class as a very interesting and somewhat always relevant read. I am sure many of you have heard of the author George Orwell. Orwell, or his real name Eric Arthur Blair, was a very clever novelist who associated his stories with politics and social order. In addition to his infamous novel ‘1984’, he also wrote other books such as ‘Animal Farm’ which is today’s review!
“Four legs good, Two legs bad”
Have you ever read a whole book in a single day? It’s not necessarily how you read it in a day, but why. I always feel fabulous when I’ve finished a book no matter how long it takes me, but to finish a book in a day is always a real achievement for me. If you’ve ever thought it’s possible… it is! Don’t have the time? Read a short story- still the same great feeling for bibliophiles!
If you’re wondering why I mentioned this, it’s because, yes you guessed it, I read Animal Farm in a day! A relatively short book and a free day go hand in hand!
The plot of animal farm can be viewed in one of two ways. On one hand, it’s the story of a bunch of farmyard animals who are upset with the way the farmer treats them and so decides to get rid of him and live freely without leadership. OR, the book is an allegorical novel set to represent the 1917 Russian revolution and the political ideals of capitalism with aspects from the Spanish civil war. This in general is an interesting context for a book which is why I enjoyed it- because it’s different to anything else I have read by any other author.
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”
The thing that I like about this story is that it’s not condescending. For example, you don’t need to understand the idealisms and arguments of politics to read this book and understand it. In itself it’s self-explanatory and you get to know the different political theories as the story progresses. I like how, although Orwell could have easily written a book explaining his political stand-point and philosophies from an academic point of view (which he did in his essays) to tell a story relatable back then and today still, with the use of the concept of a farm, is pretty amazing in my opinion.
“The only good human being is a dead one”
The characters in this story are what essentially makes the book what it is. In addition to the dozy mare, the lazy cat, the chatty hens, the wise old goat, the hard working horse and a grumbly donkey, the pigs are the most prominent characters in the book. The characters are also quite eerily represented. Granted I never thought a little pig named Snowball could be so unnerving, and yet he was!
Each of the animals are given their own personality and way of thinking which only adds substance to the novel. However- the ending is what you read the book for… the final twist (no spoilers!) was frightening in the way it is described leaving you feel unnerved and a little anxious. There was foreshadowing from as early as page 15 (in my copy) or to be honest, even earlier if you look at the details, however this did not make the ending any less shocking. It was one of those moments where you knew what was happening, but when it finally did it was worse than you could have imagined. The language Orwell uses to describe such an event is the true tantalizing feature of the book… bravo!
“Man serves the interests of no creature except himself”
In a way, this story is kind of like a creepy children’s book; it’s set on a farm with a bunch of familiar animals who can communicate with each other- but the dark political side to it really makes you tense and uncomfortable. To have an idea seemingly harmless and to completely twist it is a very unusual, yet effective, way to write a story, and to convey a profound point of view.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this review! I really enjoyed the book! I would recommend for anyone who loves classics but also those who enjoy books about totalitarian and dystopian futures. I do hoever think that because it is a relatively short read, that if you don’t usually like these kind of genres, I would encourage you to give it a go. You may be surprised with Orwell’s writing and representation. You never know, you might enjoy it!
“Beasts of England…”
I haven’t posted a predominantly political classic novel on Books Beyond The Story yet so I thought it was time!
Happy reading! Lx
P.s. I would just like to point out that unlike the animals in the book, the farm where I went to take the pictures is wonderful and the animals are adorable. The chickens like to follow you around, the goat is very nosy and loves attention (and posing for the camera), and the pigs love long naps and belly rubs and are very very friendly.