K.D. Absolutely's Reviews > 1984

1984 by George Orwell
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Jan 30, 12

bookshelves: 1001-core, dystopian, 501
Read from August 19 to 23, 2009 — I own a copy, read count: 1

Verdict After Re-reading:
Same Rating: 4 STARS

After 2-1/2 years, I re-read this. Reason: First book that our Filipinos book club here in Goodreads had discussed face-to-face. This was last Saturday. It was a very interesting and stimulating discussion. We were 12: 7 boys and 5 girls. Ages ranged from 17 to 52. Corporate rats, an entrepreneur, a college student, etc and from different industries: IT, manufacturing, publishing, marine, service, oil, etc. Mostly single except for three. Mostly Catholic but varies in terms of actual practice.

Most except three read this for the first time. I think all of us who re-read this did not change our perception from first to second reading. So, I am not an exception. Orwell's prose is exact and there is almost no hidden message whose meaning can change as you grow older. It is still his book that shows the evil of totalitarianism. It all still boils down to that.


Second Read: January 27, 2012

Bottomline: although this is an excellent well-written dystopian, its meaning does not grow old with you. It is still what it is. Maybe if I first read this when the Cold War was still on-going and the second time when it was already over, the impact could have been different. It is true that many governments (or even individuals on a personal or professional levels) take some form of control on its people that can be compared to how Big Brother takes hold of the lives of the non-Proles in Oceania. Take for example the way President Bush declared the War Against Terror after the 9/11 attack and he made people of the world believe that there were weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq and that justified the US and allies to invade Iraq after Afghanistan. However, I did not really fell the urge to strongly associate these two. George Orwell, in his effort to go against the fad of the European and Americans during the Great Depression tinkering with Marxist ideologies, tried to call attention to himself by attacking the Russian model of communism by publishing Animal Farm and this book 1984. However, 1984 has passed, the hidden camera installed all over the place did not come into reality, Newspeak and Doublethink were still old Orwellian literary theories. His prophecy after 39 years (1949-1984) did not come true. Even up to this year, 2012, not one of his predictions came into reality. Shades of it yes, but nothing exact or almost there. Don't get me wrong though but some writers can be too imaginative for their own good. Unlike say, Aldous Huxley's The Brave New World: the drugs like LSD, babies being cloned, etc. His predictions nearly, almost exactly, came true.

Still, if you read this without thinking that this was a political propaganda or a prophetic book, it is still excellent. The storyline is solid. The telling is strong and taut. Orwell's language is timeless. His characters are multi-dimensional, human and memorable.

There you go: I still highly recommend this. But for the writing and not really as a political propaganda.

But, don't you notice my review? It has more depth. I am growing as a reviewer in terms of book insights ha ha.


First Read: August 29, 2009

This is one of the best books that I've read this year. It's 300+ pages and I finished it in just 1-1/2 days. It is classified as sci-fi so I thought that it is one of those entertaining easy read but I got hooked right from page 1 down to its last sentence: "He loved Big Brother." It has serious political message which at the surface could be interpreted as an attack to communism or capitalism (depending on which viewpoint you take) but it could be as relevant to all of those whose current government is ungood (so I picked at least 1 sample of Newspeak word!).

It's also about love story (between Winston and Julia), betrayal and being in the doldrums of one's life. It's also about growing up and the son's relationship to his mother. It did not have a good ending because Winston had a full transformation to being the Party's supporter but it is brilliantly written. No wonder that it has been named as one of the Best Novels Written in English since 1928 by Time Magazine in 2005 and is included in the 501 Must Read Books that I have been trying to collect and read since early this year.

I agree with them saying that this is George Orwell's magnum opus. This is really, really great!
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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly I read this and Animal Farm in UST


K.D. Absolutely Join us in the discussion on January 28th. Venue: TBD.


message 3: by Ace (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ace wow! tapos mo na ulit to? maguumpisa palang ulit ako


K.D. Absolutely Ace: No, currently re-reading. I am following the schedule set by me.


message 5: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich I find goodreads to be a nice tool in toning both writing and the depth of analysis in a book, this was cool to look at a before and after opinion of a novel. I really enjoyed your point that 1984 has not really come to pass, while Huxley's predictions are becoming ever more a reality. You should check out Neil Postman's introduction for his book Amusing Ourselves to Death. He puts 1984 and Brave New World in comparison. He says that 'What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.' which I find intriguing. The wiki page for BNW has a good excerpt for it, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_Ne...


K.D. Absolutely Thanks for the link, S. It is very interesting.


message 7: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Glad you liked it. A friend directed me to that a while back when I was on a Huxley kick and it inspired some good debate.


K.D. Absolutely That's nice. Some participants during our face-to-face discussion last weekend also had some debates. Huxley's book came up but not too many of us have read it so the debate on this did not materialize.


message 9: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Ah nice. In Orwell's defence, I always liked his writing a bit more as I always felt Huxley was talking down to me when reading him. But I think you hit the nail of the head with your comparisons of their ideas and that Huxley's panned out while Orwell's did not. yet...


message 10: by K.D. (new) - rated it 4 stars

K.D. Absolutely Thanks, S.penkevich.


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