I’ve sort of had a dryspell when it comes to reading, ever since getting back from my vacation. Last week I read Franny and Zooey and was unfortunately disappointed in it – I do plan on rereading it some other time and when I do, I’ll likely be writing a review for it as well.
But the book I finished today, which seems to have cured my dryspell, was Animal Farm by George Orwell and I really liked it. I read 1984 earlier this year and although I enjoyed the reading experience for the most part (excluding the ‘manifesto’), and appreciate the things he accomplished, I wouldn’t say I loved it. It didn’t have as big an impact on me as I know it has had for others. Animal Farm on the other hand did have that impact, it’s so obviously political – it’s not like you really have to read in between the lines or dig to see the symbols and meanings of the novella. It’s just plain out honest, smack in the face, and great. The story is written as a fable, about a farm where the animals decides to chase out the human owners and take over the farm for themselves. What starts out as an utopia soon transforms into a dystopian society and all of the original ideals, ideas, and values are slowly forgotten, overwritten, discarded, forbidden. It is a powerful book, because of its unflinching character, and an important book – like 1984, for what it stands for.
I think one of the strengths to the novella is also that the progression or rather the transformation of the farm is very gradual, realistically done in the way that a society rarely changes over night. The transformation creeps up on you like a nightmare, it’s horrifying and at the same time frustrating to see the animals being cheated, being manipulated, being led to a place in time where they can no longer remember the days of the past, the original ideas they had that started their rebellion. I feel like many of the ideas and themes that Orwell touches on in 1984 are also present here, but obviously in a much shorter format – and in my opinion, more powerful spin.
Basically I’m recommending Animal Farm to anyone and everyone, just do yourself a favor and read it if you haven’t already.