Review: 1984 by George Orwell

1984 by George Orwell
Simon Prebble (Narrated by)
Audiobook: Duration: 11:23:24
Published May 25th, 2005 by Blackstone Audio, Inc.
(first published June 8th, 1949)
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Blackstone Audio presents a new recording of this immensely popular book. 

George Orwell depicts a gray, totalitarian world dominated by Big Brother and its vast network of agents, including the Thought Police, a world in which news is manufactured according to the authorities' will and people live tepid lives by rote.

 Winston Smith, the hero with no heroic qualities, longs only for truth and decency. But living in a social system in which privacy does not exist and where those with unorthodox ideas are brainwashed or put to death, he knows there is no hope for him. He knows even as he continues to pursue his forbidden love affair that eventually he will come to destruction.

 The year 1984 has come and gone, yet George Orwell's nightmare vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is still the great modern classic of negative Utopia. It is a prophetic and haunting tale that exposes the worst crimes imaginable: the destruction of freedom and truth.

My thoughts…

1984 is one of those classic books that everyone has heard about and has some basic knowledge of the story. I found this book interesting, and I can now understand why it is so widely popular.  

1984 is a dystopian where Winston Smith is a citizen of Oceania and who is questioning the leadership of the Party. The Party is a government group that uses cameras to monitor a person's every move and is run by the ever-watchful Big Brother. Oceania is also ruled by the Thought Police, they seek out ‘thought crime’ or anyone who dares to disagree with the Party. In Oceania, there are no rules, all mundane activity is basically controlled by the Party, but if you do anything the Party doesn't like they would kill you. The Party has spies everywhere, the children are known to betray their parents and other citizens by notifying the Thought Police, they are in turn punished. 

Winston spends his days working at the Ministry of Truth, his job is to re-write history by falsifying and eliminating unfavorable history and then immediately destroying the evidence. It’s at work he notices a much younger Julia, a rebel of the Party. They don’t communicate in fear of the cameras picking up their conversation. One-day Julie bumps into Winston and passes him a note. They meet and arrange for a secret rendezvous, something Julie is well practiced at. Despite knowing that their relationship violates many of Party rules, the two engage in an affair.  Which leads them to violate more of the Party rules until ultimately, they are caught.

Winston is taken to the Ministry of Love, those citizens who commit ‘thought crime’ are tortured there until they grow to love and serve only the interests of the Party.

Why only three stars? 1984 is a slow book and has boring parts, I listened to it on audio and many times I found myself tuning out the narration. One part is where Winston begins reading to Julia a book about the opposition's political viewpoint. I was seriously considering not finishing 1984. The story did pick up once again when Winston is taken to the Ministry of Love. I was extremely upset with the ending and didn’t like it.

Would I recommend 1984? Yes, everyone should experience at some point. It’s also said to be a great modern classic of negative Utopia, the introduction into this world is well written.

Happy Reading – J


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  1. I wasn't a huge fan of 1984 either. I agree its got slow parts and I hate non-happy endings. That being said I also realize why its a classic. Its got lessons, and warnings, yada yada yada. Haha :)

  2. I'm glad I read it, just to say I did but, it is not one that I would ever read again. Yada yada yada and blah blah blah, I understand you completely. Have a wonderful day.