Tyler's Reviews > Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
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did not like it

Few appreciate irony as much as I do, so understand that I understand this review. The message of this book is decent: knowledge should not be censored. However, the rest of the book is utter shit. I found myself actually screaming at several points as Bradbury spent minutes and dozens of metaphors and allusions referring to one insignificant detail of the plot. It is too damn flowery to be understandable by anyone! In other words, an English teacher's dream. In addition, the story was about the message not the story in and of itself. Those of you who know me understand that this is that I detest most about classics, tied with how everyone reveres them without reading them.

The Coda and Afterword just add to the confuse making me confused on whether Bradbury is a very hateful man or just a hypocrite. The main plot of the novel itself is that the majority rule canceled out intellectualism while in the Coda (maybe Afterword, I don't remember which was which) Bradbury blasts minorities (all, including racial, religious, etc.) for creating an overly sensitive society. Oddly enough, his heroes are the minority. Ha. Furthermore, the Coda is a hefty "Fuck you" to anyone that wants to critique his work in any way not positive. Therefore, I feel obliged to respond in turn: "Fuck you, Ray Bradbury. Your writing style is shit and I won't force it on my worst enemy." Harsh, I know, but true. If you do need to read this book, I suggest a Cliff Notes version as long as you can appreciate that irony.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
April 1, 2007 – Finished Reading
December 28, 2007 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-50 of 63 (63 new)


Rebecca Just wanted to say, I totally agree with you on Fahrenheit 451. It was awful, without many comprehensible moments, and nearly unreadable. I'm so glad my high school teachers gave us other choices during the prophetic literature unit.


Denerick Good lord, if Ray Bradbury ever needed inspiration for another Fahrenheit 451 (Fahrenheit 452 anyone?) then all he'd need to do would be to read that review. What nonsense!

I can understand if people don't like a book, I really can. But the justifications here seem to be that Bradbury is employing too much internal dialogue, too much reflection - The book is only 172 pages long! A story and a book are two different things. The old professor actually discusses the nature of literature very well in the book - we rate literature on how closely it can explain human existence. It is not how (Such as a simple story where the protagonist just does one damn thing after another) but why people do things that makes great literature.

If you want to read dull stories with little internal dialogue and little emotional maturity, crack open a Patterson. Thats all I can say.


message 3: by Katherine (last edited Jun 10, 2009 10:46PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katherine Layne I can understand why you may not have liked it, although I thought that it was a pretty great book. I read it as a highschool freshman for english last year, and many of my classmates did not like it either. My advice is to read it again once you are mature and see if you like the book any better. I also do not agree with you that the heroes of this novel are a minority group (aka Montag and Faber). They are very much, especially Montag, part of the Majority, aside from a single idea. Mabey we do need to step back from technology and censorship, and take a look at the bigger picture that people don't see though it is right in front of our faces; but no one else seems to notice because they are content with a second-rate life style as long as it means that they can ignore the things that cause them stress and discomfort. Not only that, but the technology that we use to distract ourselves and fill up time may be stopping us from getting the most out of our lives.
And though I do appreciate the irony, you should never use cliff notes to read a book, only to help you with what you do not understand.
By the way, Bradbury is not blaming minorities. He is refering to the over-cencorship of society in attempt to not offend anyone.



message 4: by Lee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee Maybe you're reading too much into the book. I read this book when I was pretty young (6th grade? idk.) and I certainly wasn't looking for any symbolism or metaphors or anything, and I found it entertaining enough.


Gerald Camp When you have to use words like "shit" and "fuck" to talk about a book, you reveal yourself as the kind of person who would like to create the world depicted in this novel.


message 6: by Tara (last edited May 31, 2010 05:45PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Tara "spent minutes and dozens of metaphors and allusions referring to one insignificant detail of the plot."

YES! I appreciate metaphors. I love a novel that can paint a picture with words. However, I think not all novels requires it and this is one such novel. His descriptions were so redundant - I actually laughed out loud numerous times. I drove my boyfriend nuts with, "Hey, listen to this..." and then I'd read him a 30 word sentence written to describe the few steps he took from the fire station to the subway.
Bradbury could have told the story in 1/2 the pages w/out losing anything important.


Seaweed I agree with you completely Tyler. To all those that strongly attacked him for not liking this book, I think you should read the book again, one of the points in this blunt book, is that the majority shouldn't oppress the minority! Gerald, the word Fuck and shit have been used in the most eloquent and intellectual books!


Gerald Camp Seaweed wrote: "I agree with you completely Tyler. To all those that strongly attacked him for not liking this book, I think you should read the book again, one of the points in this blunt book, is that the majori..."

These words certainly can be used in literature, usually as part of characterization, to show the intelligence level of particular characters. But they do not add anything except expressions of personal disgust to evaluations of literature. Here too they reveal the intelligence level of the user. I think one can express what one dislikes about a book with evidence and reasoning, not with cursing. Of course that's just my opinion; I could be wrong. Perhaps you can set me straigh by suggesting reputable critics who effectively attack works they dislike with language like that.


João "The message of this book is decent: knowledge should not be censored."

No, that isn't the message. Book burning derived from something worse: apathy, laziness and aversion to knowledge. The firemen just kept it in check.


Anonymousity Gerald, there are many books, especially in the adult or young adult sections that use expletives to outline moments of passionate rage or helplessness.

What about the characters Locke or Jean in Scott Lynch's novel "The Lies of Locke Lamora"? Surely you don't think that their use of cuss words means that they aren't intellectuals.

Tyler's use of expletives simply means that he is very passionate about his hatred of this novel. Honestly, I'm inclined to agree with him. Orwell's 1984 blew this prolonged short story out of the water. Silly Bradbury.


Gerald Camp Anonymousity wrote: "Gerald, there are many books, especially in the adult or young adult sections that use expletives to outline moments of passionate rage or helplessness.

What about the characters Locke or Jean in..."


Anonymousity wrote: "Gerald, there are many books, especially in the adult or young adult sections that use expletives to outline moments of passionate rage or helplessness.

What about the characters Locke or Jean in..."


Of course intelligent characters in fiction use "cuss words." My point was that these words are not literary criticism. They do not replace the reasons that inspire them, so they are of no value to me in trying to assess why the work is so bad. Why not tell me what you hated about the book instead of merely telling me that you hated it?


message 12: by Mel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mel Though I liked the book (it's totally fine if anyone doesn't, by the way), I totally agree that the writing was so unnecessarily flowery and used wayyyy too many allusions and metaphors. They eventually got tiring to read. Sure some were nice, but sometimes I felt like I was reading the same description for more than a whole page. And you're so right, the story was more about the message rather than the story. I had the same feeling when I read the book, just no name for it.


Hannah I understand that Bradbury's style isn't for everyone, but the messages were powerful, and gaining them was the really journey of the book. It wouldn't be as powerful if the messages were clearly spelled out.


Gerald Camp dan wrote: "Gerald wrote: "These words [curse words] certainly can be used in literature, usually as part of characterization, to show the intelligence level of particular characters."

Really? Where are you..."


I don't understand your point.


Gerald Camp Whatever language a character uses is language the author chose to create the impression he wanted the character to make on the reader. Often characters who speak in obscene language (it seems to me) are characters the author is presenting as characters who are unable to express themselves in more socially acceptable language--or who choose not to: see Tony Soprano, surely one of the most intelligent characters created for television.

This discussion began, if you'll look back, not with judgments about fictional characters, but with my comment that obscene language does not belong in literary criticism since it tells nothing useful about the work being discussed except that the reviewer did not like it.


Denis Epshteyn your review of this book is exactly what i thought after and while reading it.


Renee Gerald wrote: "Whatever language a character uses is language the author chose to create the impression he wanted the character to make on the reader. Often characters who speak in obscene language (it seems to m..."


Gerald is my hero. Nuff said.


Renee @dan I must say though, "the most widely acclaimed films" don't always make it to my favorites list. Sure, they are the films on every person's bucket list but I much rather sit down and watch "Lance Armstrong!" be yelled out in A Good Year. To not digress, profanity may be so strong because it has become a language in itself. There are so many connotations by these words that can be used to show, for example, lack of knowledge, melancholy, etc. To not use it is to ignore the fact that humanity is... wild to say the least.


message 19: by Hil (new) - rated it 2 stars

Hil I love how people can't express a negative opinion about a book that is generally championed by a majority without being disapproved of, ridiculed and patronised for having an individual thought.


message 20: by Emma (new) - rated it 4 stars

Emma Just read this book and I had to comment, this has been an interesting review and interesting debate on the merits of Bradbury's metaphors. I read it for a book club and one of the members had outlined all the moments when the metaphors made her laugh, or just say "WHAT?!" This person is incredibly intelligent and extremely widely-read. She cited sentences such as "the leaves rustled like dry rain" as one of the moments that just made her throw up her hands. There's no such thing as dry rain! Of course...I loved the sound this sentence evoked in my head, I actually heard the dry rustling, but she snorted. The message is what makes her tick, was as I am more of a fan of how the message arrives in my head — whether its clear or tantalising I don't mind, and neither style is a dealbreaker for me.

This was originally a 25,000 word novel, and Bradbury's editors requested he write more. That might be why some of the sentences seem like padding (though there were so many way-out descriptions that gave me chills. The moment when he stops smiling for the first time since he can remember was soooo creepy!)

It's such a shame that the narrative style gets in the way of the message for some. Though I loved it, I can't help thinking that any flaws in the imagery etc were the result of the fact that the novella was written in something like 9 days, and he wrote it on a typewriter he rented by the hour and was probably writing it as a stream-of-consciousness because on a typewriter there are no rewrites :) An editor could have taken these issues to task, but no-one wanted to publish it so it wouldn't have got that far.

For trivia's sake, I had to add that it seems this was first published in the VERY FIRST edition of Playboy magazine (?!) because Hefner was the only person who would touch it. It was just too controversial.

Anyway, there are valid points on both sides of the fence. I devoured this book very quickly and wanted to highlight certain moments in pen so that I could quote them, which I very rarely want to do.
That clearer, more accessible, narratives are so popular now is a sign of the times, I think. Ugh, try reading books from the 1700s if you REALLY want to wade through a flowery sentence... :D

I think this is the most naive dystopia I've ever read, and because of that ironic juxtaposition it has a special place in my heart.


message 21: by E. (new) - rated it 5 stars

E. Matson I know this post is over five years old, but I still wanted to add to the discussion. I remember reading in the introduction that (as I'm sure many know) it started off as a short story that he was asked to turn into a book. Maybe that's why the language seems puffed up at points. Combine that with his passion for writing and a tangent or two is bound to appear. Overall, I enjoyed the book and thought it was creepy/cool how he predicted today's mega-inch TVs and the reality shows that blare through them in HD. Also, reminded me of the movie Minority Report when the ads scan a person's eyes and address him by name.


Annie FINALLY!!!! Someone who understands my frustration! THANK YOU. I totally agree with you. The writing style.....UGH.


message 23: by Jeb (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeb I think your review is extremely shortsighted, and I can't imagine why anyone like you would even pick up a book like this, much less understand it. However, my main comment is about your idea that Bradbury hates minorities for bringing down society with ultra-sensitivity. It is an interesting point of view, because at no point does Bradbury ever mention the nationalities of any of the characters in the book. Do not make assumptions as to the color or nationality of Montag, Mildred, Beatty, or even the beautiful young girl in the beginning. They can be read as any color, and the entire message of the book shines through exactly the same as it would otherwise. In fact, as far as I can tell, the entire book could take place somewhere other than America or Europe. Don't make assumptions. It makes you look like a fool.


Emily "I found myself actually screaming at several points as Bradbury spent minutes and dozens of metaphors and allusions referring to one insignificant detail of the plot. It is too damn flowery to be understandable by anyone! In other words, an English teacher's dream. " completely agree!


message 25: by Dale (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dale Critchley Wow, you completely missed the point of the book. It's not about censorship. It's about a world devoid of metaphor, reduced to one-liners, like Facebook. If you know what #TLDR means, you know what this book predicted. If you don't like the flowery language, you're what this book is about.


message 26: by Francisco (last edited Apr 15, 2014 10:57PM) (new)

Francisco Sadras Jeb, I would argue that nationality (USA) is strongly implied and colour (white) is made abundantly clear (for at least some characters).

Clarisse - "her face was slender and milk-white"
Mildred - "thin as a praying mantis from dieting, and her flesh like white bacon."

As for location,

"Don't step on the toes of the... second generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico."

I think the likelihood of specific states and cities from the USA being mentioned if it was set elsewhere is very small, though possible.

One last thing, I don't see the OP mentioning it was in the USA/Europe, rather that was what you assumed from his post.


Alexandra Stack This book is a masterpiece. Although the finer details of the plot can be lost on some people the overlying messages are clear. Censorship, control and how our society is developing as a whole. This is a fabulous piece of literature that will be a timeless classic and forever go down as one of the most accurate predictions of our future. Clearly great works are lost on you, better stick to those little fluff pieces.


Aidan Mcdermott @january awwwww, did he insult your favowite bwook? Poor baby!
Here's some advice, just because someone doesn't share your taste in art doesn't mean you should insult them... Try not to be so defensive over something you didn't even have a hand in creating...

Btw I agree with this review. The book bored me to death. And everyone saying that it is an accurate prediction of the future/present must be pretty damn pessimistic. I'd wager that global literacy rates are higher than ever.


Laurent You sure didn't understand the book then!


Annie I had to read this book as summer homework for Honors English. I did not enjoy it. Bradbury has some good ideas, but I hated reading his writing. I mean, what was with the drip drop paragraph in the beginning? It was complete nonsense without a single complete sentence!


Derrick Oliver Great discussion. I still enjoyed it. I feel like both sides of the interpretation and argument speak to me. Probably another reason it's a classic #ThoughtProvoking


Coral Davies Bradbury is the master of the metaphor, like a modern Shakespeare. But i suppose you consider him a long-winded dullard as well. It's sad how you seem to reflect a lot of the opinions on art and literature explored in the book. You did start by saying you liked irony though so maybe this is you attempting it.


message 33: by zdroyd (last edited Aug 11, 2014 01:40AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

zdroyd My copy does not have this "coda" or afterward so I am not sure what you are getting at. To me I felt every line of this book was to serve its message of "read books already".

So the plot itself I waved as I was into this book from the beginning as seeing it as an essay of sorts. Like the fact that it is broken up into three parts, each part an illustration of his three ideas on content. So part 1: Works, not just books, need pores and should be packed with ideas. Part 2: People need time to breath and think over these ideas. And 3: Then those people need to put the two together, the ideas and the time spent thinking about them, to find something new.

Everything else, like the setting and characters being so dramatically against or for books, as devices for his essay.

Example taken from above: "her face was slender and milk-white" I saw that as Bradbury giving us an example of 1: Books need pores, content. So Clarisse was the character who noticed things, and who also brought our main to notice things. Other characters, especially Mildred, did not notice things (like her forgetting what she watched on the Wall). The first part of the book was to illustrate the noticing of things, how books could define things and spend paragraphs talking about beauty etc.

Edit: I also loved how the Facebook Wall was predicted.


message 34: by Tram (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tram I totally agree with your review! He spends way too much time fluffing up one minor detail.


message 35: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Stoneking It's unfortunate there are people out there who dislike Fahrenheit 451. I have read this book four times and it becomes more real every time I read it. Every time I look around me. I have a big screen television, but I need a bigger one. I can't seem to put my head out of my phone and experience life.
This novel was not written as a suspenseful science fiction story, but as a warning. We are a society that is heading down the path of ignorance at an outrageous pace.
I love reading, The Count of Monte Cristo is my favorite novel. But I find myself distracted so often by my smartphone or a new show on TV. Both of which I gain no knowledge.


message 36: by Yoana (new) - rated it 1 star

Yoana The greatest irony is that what he calls an overly sensitive society is actually a slightly less tyrannical society - one with plurality of voices. The books is deeply conservative, it shows in every line. But it's managed to convince everyone that it's revolutionary with a cheap trick: a classic distraction with something shiny.


Johan I love the irony of this review. Tyler doesn't understand that Bradbury wrote this book specifically to highlight the dangers of people like... well... Tyler!


Breeana I am currently still reading the book (over half way) and I really don't understand how 'the message gets lost in the flowery text ' comments, it seems perfectly clear to me. A very easy to read book and the words flow and he explains situations that my senses relish in. I personally think one of the points Ray Bradbury is trying to make is that society has made things that are meant to be felt and spoken about and shown has been made clinical ,robotic and with no real feelings. And he is being awoken. And can longer take the life he has been living and it's falseness.


John Doe Where's the dislike button when you need it...


message 40: by mia (new) - added it

mia difelice no but really that comment on the coda was so spot on. obviously Bradbury took his stance in that bit from the position of a white man who has no idea about the power of representation or lack thereof. I read that before the book and then felt sour through the whole thing.


Lekha Murali The message of the book is about people who surrender to mindless conditioning, which makes it easy for the knowledge to be censored.


Alyssa I feel like there a lot of people here who are just angry because they can't find fulfillment in their live. Wait! That reminds me of something...
In other words you could just get off your computer and talk to a real person for a change as Bradbury suggests.


Sjbelew He did not insult minorities. Beatty, one of the characters, did on page 54. One of the points of the book was that minorities are good. Without this, life is bleak and boring. Without differences, people aren't really happy. Books had been gotten rid of because books caused feuds between the minorities, which inevitably leads to war. I think you misunderstood Bradbury's point.


message 44: by Yoana (new) - rated it 1 star

Yoana Well if books were being burned because they riled minorities, that's directly blaming minorities for it, isn't it? It's awfully similar to the modern-day argument that minorities' sensibilities are ruining freedom of speech because they dare ask to not be insulted.


message 45: by Joms (new) - added it

Joms This book is highly interesting, as much as you to be different to the views of others. Currently reading in order to know what's what, and I find your review very scholarly and professional.

Various modern fiction I had read, and Fahrenheit 451 is a challenging game. Would just watch a movie in order to know a wondrous plot, but learning such philosophies is an effort to do.


message 46: by Greg (new) - rated it 2 stars

Greg Tyler, I'm with you. A recent re-reading made me realize there isn't much here and I didn't like the hypocrisy, which was all over the place.


message 47: by Anh (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anh Oh the Irony. O_O


message 48: by Jake (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jake Gutierrez Yeah, I guess people like you with attention spans lower than that of a goldfish just can't enjoy good literature. Sorry, but this book deserves five stars period


message 49: by Tabitha (new)

Tabitha I think I made it page 7 of this book. Way too flowery for me. There must be some remotely redeeming content judging from the fanfare this book receives to this day, but considering I couldn't even stomach Chapter 1, my review would likely have been very similar to yours.


message 50: by Yoana (new) - rated it 1 star

Yoana Tabitha wrote: "I think I made it page 7 of this book. Way too flowery for me. There must be some remotely redeeming content judging from the fanfare this book receives to this day, but considering I couldn't even..."

There isn't. People just identify their own deeply-rooted fear of the future, of the unknown, of progress and of everything that is not comfortable and well-known. That's my only explanation for the popularity of this supremely weak book.


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