Review: 1984 by George Orwell

Genre: Dystopian Age Level: Adult Series: N/A
Genre: Dystopian
Age Level: Adult
Series: N/A

‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’

Winston Smith works for the Ministry of truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent – even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101 . . . 

Ninteen Eighty-Four is George Orwell’s terrifying vision of a totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to a tyrannical regime.


I was excited when I found out that 1984 was part of my curriculum because I generally enjoy dystopians. What I got, was rather disappointing and not at all what I expected.

From the very beginning, I found it slow and boring. Nothing about it piqued my interest and I couldn’t get past the first few pages. Since I had to read it, I forced myself to pick it up again and sat down and read the whole book through from beginning to end to get it over with. Once I got past the first part, I didn’t think it was that bad, but still don’t see what all the fuss is about.

Most of my issues with the book stem from the fact that I do not like Orwell’s writing. Everything is repeated multiple times and whole pages are devoted to a single topic.  I can’t put my finger on exactly what bothers me, but the whole book could have been cut in half without losing anything. Goldstein’s book is the most boring thing I have ever read and I still don’t know how I got through that part.

The plot is painfully slow with very few interesting scenes that happen mainly at the end. However, the reedeming factor of the story is that the society is very interesting and realistic.  I could see our society getting to this point in the future. I don’t know enough about politics to say whether or not that aspect of the story was realistic, but a society where the government wishes to control everything is extremely likely. I would hate to live in a society with no privacy or freedom of speech. The ending is disappointing, but I liked it because it is realistic. 

The idea of controlling thought through the reduction of language is extremely interesting and not something I’d thought of before. If you take away certain words, it becomes impossible to express certain concepts or even to think them, resulting in complete control. As an avid writer and reader, this thought is very scary as I love the variety of words in the English language.

Winston is not someone you’d peg as rebellious, which I liked, but I know nothing about him. Or Julia for that matter and the lack of character development bugged me. Other than their appearances and ideologies, I know barely anything about them. I also found Winston to be a bit stupid at times which didn’t make much sense, because the fact that he has his own thoughts proves he’s intelligent.  Also, their relationship comes out of nowhere.

It’s sad that the plot and writing were so bad, because the book had some really cool ideas that could have been the focus of the book. On the other hand, explaining things more would have taken the mystery, and subsequently the terror, out of Big Brother. Still, it could have been a lot more engaging.

So, unless this seems like something you’d like, I don’t recommend it.

 Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d love to hear from you!


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