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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Brave New World (review)

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Reason for Reading: My Year of Reading Dangerously Challenge
Rating: 5/5

Summarize the plot: Welcome to the future. People are now created in test-tubes, and trained from birth via sleep-hypnosis to know their place in society. Sexual promiscuity and consumption are the highest societal values.

One Sentence Review: The classic dystopian novel is still thought-provoking, if not as horrifying as it was considered when it first came out.

What I liked: For being a relatively short novel with few characters, and very little action, Brave New World describes a unique dystopia, where families are considered pornographic, and "everyone belongs to everyone else". While I kept hearing the phrase "horrifying vision of the future" along with this book, I didn't find it horrifying. Maybe I'm influenced by some of the dystopian novels I've been reading lately, but this version of the future didn't seem nearly as bad as say, The Road. That's not to say it isn't a disturbing book. It doesn't paint a pretty picture of the future, that's for sure. The Savage, a character who lives more in accordance with our own societal values and is dropped into the Brave New World, finds himself unable to function in a world where no one is allowed to care too deeply for anyone else.

I found it interesting that none of the characters in the novel are especially likeable. Bernard, arguably one of the main characters, is petty, contrary, and cruel. Even the Savage, who the reader would probably identify with the best, says and does cruel things because of the tension between his upbringing and his life in the Brave New World. Lenina, the other main character, is just vacuous. Despite this fact, the book kept me interested because I wanted to know what was going to happen to them.

What I didn't like: This is an idea book. The characters, as I mentioned, aren't particularly likeable, and very little action occurs. This is the kind of book that if it had dragged out any longer than it did, would have gotten boring.

Should I read it? It's a classic


mariel said...

You are so right. Although not horrifying, this book really did make me think. And Huxley was very ahead of his time. I heard a rumour that someone is making it into a new film…

Alice Teh said...

I would definitely like to read this one day. Thanks for the review, Kim!

Lauryn said...

I think I'll pick this up from the library before my trip. Any other reccomendations?

Nymeth said...

It's definitely an idea book, but a pretty awesome one. I need to read it again!

Kim L said...

mariel - yeah I saw rumors about the movie too. I actually know there's been at least one adapatation, but I don't remember it being very good.

alice teh - hope you enjoy!

Lauryn-other recommendations? Hmm... where do I start? What kind of books are ya looking for? The Book Thief was a good vacation read for me.