*** Caution -- contains spoilers.***
Immediately before I read "1984", I read "Fahrenheit 451". I do recommend reading these books back-to-back, and if I hadn't already read "Brave New World", that would be next on my list.
"1984" chilled me. I've grown up hearing the quote "Big Brother is watching you" but never fully comprehended the depth and breadth of what that actually meant.
Portions of the book ran dry for me, and a tad long on the philosophy. However, just as I thought I'd start skimming, things would pick back up and I'd get involved again with Winston's life and his burgeoning relationship with Julia. I found myself rooting for them to get out, to perhaps join the "proles", to start and uprising. Keep in mind, I had absolutely NO idea how this story was supposed to end.
I had a physical shock when Julia and Winston were discovered. That voice coming out of the wall as I was reading about their quiet interlude literally shocked me to the core. Perhaps deep inside I knew they were destined to be caught, but not in so abrupt a manner! And that, actually, is what's terrifying about the book -- how Winston had been watched for years and years, how he was so easily duped, and how quickly life as he knew it came crashing down around him.
Reading about his torture and brain-washing was nauseating, because I can so easily see how that happens even now in prison camps. Seeing how people can break another person, reading about how hopeless a situation can be, how thoughts and memories can so easily be changed -- scary stuff. Some may scoff at that ever happening. But a slippery slope isn't called slippery for nothing.
This wasn't necessarily an enjoyable read, but it was a necessary read. Recommended.
Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off. She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene. She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.