I know, I know, I’m totally late to the show on this one, but you know me – I’m a sucker for the classics. I didn’t have to read this one as required reading in high school. We read Catcher in the Rye, instead. No time is better than now, so I picked up a borrowed copy and dove in…. and finished it in one sitting. Wow.
Enter a world where firemen destroy rather than save. Where TV’s span the entire wall… all four of them, in fact. Where little radios buzz away in the ears of our loved ones non-stop. Where the world is at war, but the people are too distracted to see it. Where a beautiful young woman, deemed anti-social, has the power to make a man question everything.
Montag is just a man, born into the line of duty as a fireman like his father before him and his father before him. His soul duty in society is to protect it from the confusion of critical thinking required to process fake stories and contradicting theories. Books. His nemesis is literature. And so it must go. But what happens when he starts to sneak a volume or two home, hidden away where no one can see it? How will the world change for one man, ignored by his wife, inspired by martyrs, bitten by curiosity?
Ray Bradbury is nothing short of a lyricist. The words of his accomplished novel string together with melodious cohesion to such a degree that you forget you’re reading the words and ingest them, instead. It’s beautiful writing. A story I would cling to with my life in order to protect it if a fireman came snooping around my hidden attic space.
If you haven’t read it yet, please do. If you read it back in high school, revisit it. The amount of foreshadowing into the world our society is flying towards is astounding… and a little terrifyingly accurate.