Ray Bradbury is an incredibly talented writer who touches on important life and cultural themes with empathy, poise, and unique style, which was ahead of his time. Knowing these aforementioned qualities to be true, I had an inkling Fahrenheit 451, a book I missed out on during my schooling, was going to leave a deep impression on me (especially in today’s political climate.) Unfortunately, my gut was a tad off on this one.
This is not to say I renege on the praise and appreciation I have for Bradbury; or that I don’t applaud his tackling a daring subject. Fahrenheit 451 simply didn’t leave as deep a mark on me as other dystopian novels of its kind (1984, Brave New World). I considered the possibility that this was a result of the order in which I happened to read these novels; perhaps had I read Bradbury’s 451 first, it would have left a more profound imprint. However, while the reading chronology may have been a contributing factor in my attitude, I don’t think it is the main issue. It is the execution of the ending that disappointed.
Though I don’t have a general preference as to whether novels have uplifting or bleak endings, I do have strong feelings on the manner in which conflicts are resolved. Bradbury nailed it for about 2/3s of Fahrenheit 451, but the last third is a smidge too contrived compared with all that came before.
I fully comprehend why this is a frequently read and beloved novel. I appreciate the themes and take aways from the work (man’s ability to learn from his mistakes is always one that gets me). Although I think Bradbury is a national treasure, Fahrenheit 451 simply wasn’t the hit to the heart I was searching for, so my rating is on a more personal level not a technical one.
Rating: 3.5 Taboos