Sep 11, 2012

Brave New World

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Description: Far in the future, the World Controllers have finally created the ideal society. In laboratories worldwide, genetic science has brought the human race to perfection. From the Alpha-Plus mandarin class to the Epsilon-Minus Semi-Morons, designed to perform menial tasks, man is bred and educated to be blissfully content with his pre-destined role.

But, in the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, Bernard Marx is unhappy. Harbouring an unnatural desire for solitude, feeling only distaste for the endless pleasures of compulsory promiscuity, Bernard has an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress…

A fantasy of the future that sheds a blazing critical light on the present--considered to be Aldous Huxley' s most enduring masterpiece.

When it comes to book choices, I am generally not interested in anything that could fall into the category "classics". This may make me seem uncultured, but it's true. I usually enjoy them once I get into to them (as you can probably tell from my previous reviews, I'm not particularly hard to please when it comes to books) but I often find them tedious at first - before I get into the rhythm of reading them. I just kind of have a meh attitude about classic literature in general. 

...I'm not really sure what my point is, except to say this book has always been an exception to that rule of sorts. I've been meaning to read Brave New World for some time now, but just have never gotten to it until now. I love dystopian fiction and want to read as much as possible (seriously, if you have suggestions I would like to know them). 

Does it ever happen to you that you hear a lot about a book (or a movie, or whatever), and you think you know what it's going to be about but then you actually read it and it's not at all what you expected it to be? And, if you really think about it, you realize that you really didn't know anything about it to begin with? Well, that's what this book was for me. It was not at all what I had expected it would be, and that was both good and bad, as you can imagine.  Good because, well surprise is always good, right? At least, when reading fiction. Bad because...well, it's kind of hard to explain. I just expected to like this book a lot more then I did. I didn't expect it to be this big, life changing inspiration or anything, just...yeah. I expected it to be more than it was. 

I guess I'm just used to it being very clear who the good guys are and who are the bad guys. But...I mean, the people of civilization weren't exactly bad guys. They just had a very narrow existence. A very boring, narrow view of the world...but they were happy, at least. And "The Savage", well, he was a little too extreme and intense for me to want to side with him. A product, I'm guessing, of being a character written for an audience in 1931. I just wanted to say to him, Dude, chill out. You're making mountains out of mole hills. Also, Lenina was this awesome character, right up until they went to the reservation and then she instantly got annoying and stupid. That made me more than a little displeased. I really, really liked her at the beginning. I know she was just being who she was brainwashed to be, but I wanted her to be so much more.

On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful, I'd give it a Very Good. I'm glad I read it and it had some really interesting ideas, but I didn't love it.


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