Fahrenheit 451 Review
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When our family relocated this summer it meant a lot of things, but one of the biggest things it meant was changing schools for the kids. The first thing the counselor did was hand our fourteen year old the summer reading list with the recommendation (a demand really) to get busy, because she was way behind.

Flipping through the list I spotted Ray Bradburyís classic Fahrenheit 451. Iíve had my paperback copy of that book for nearly twenty five years now, which meant of course that there was no way my step-daughter was going to read it. I decided to read it again and am glad I did.

The firemen in this book donít ride big shiny red trucks through town to save people and buildings from being consumed by flames. Instead they make their midnight runs to start fires... fires required by law. Itís the job of these firemen to burn books.

The main character of the book, Guy Montag, is having a midlife crisis of sorts. Heís bored with the life he is leading and tired of his pestering spouse. She keeps chiding him for not working hard enough to buy the one thing that will make their home complete...wall sized television monitor for the only wall in the living room that doesnít already have one. In the midst of his doldrums, he begins to notice that the teenaged girl next door is different from everyone else in town. Sheís more interested in the outside world than the world on her television.

She confides in him that most of her seemingly crazy ideas come from books sheís seen and read. He befriends her instead of turning her in and when she disappears he decides he has to change the way heís been living.

He begins to collect books himself. Guy mistakenly lets his wife in on the secret and she of course turns him in. His chief more or less knew what was going on before hand and had tried to warn Guy that it couldnít last long. One night Guy is called out on a run, this one to burn his own stash of books. Guy runs from the law and meets with a group of outlawed intellectuals that have a plan for saving the books of the world.

More than half a century removed from its original printing, this book still carries a message for the reader. The message that censorship is wrong, and that anyone who tries to stifle the thoughts of another man is committing a crime against all men is one that will always resonate.

Bradbury is at his finest here, with tightly woven plot lines and characters that could be alive and living near you today. There are over five million copies of this book in print. It has been made into a play, and a couple of movie treatments. This is a book you need to have in your permanent collection.

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