Title: Animal Farm
Author: George Orwell
My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 3.82
Genre: Classic, Dystopian
Tired of their servitude to man, a group of farm animals revolt and establish their own society, only to be betrayed into worse servitude by their leaders, the pigs, whose slogan becomes: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
Yes I have finally read a George Orwell novel- or in this case novella. I have had my mind on Animal Farm since last year actually: the concept seemed rather interesting and it would mean me reading a classic. However, for some reason I just didn’t buy it or borrow it from the library. But finally I got this bad boy for Christmas and was given the prestige title of being the first book I read in 2016! *My non existent audience clap*
Now even though I love history, the who Stalin/Soviet Union era is still rather murky for me, but I think all you need is a basic understanding of communism and you can still enjoy the story thankfully, but brushing up on my Russian history wouldn’t of hurt.
I was expecting this to an almost eye opening story and it almost definitely was.
The story is set on a farm (surprise, surprise) called Manor Farm which is run by a human called Mr Jones and his wife. However after one burst of rebellious spirit the farm animals drive the humans out of the farm for good. Seven basic principles are outline from the start and leaders rise above the ranks. But it doesn’t take too long for corruption, greed and dishonesty to slip in, leaving the farm animals innocently bewildered.
So because the story is less than two hundred pages it wasn’t hard to keep your attention on it all. The whole story concept is expertly crafted so it mimics a picture that you can easily imagine and I love the fact that you jump into the action almost straight away. The plot at the start is rather simple but as you progress through it starts to get-for lack of a better word- darker and I think it’s the part when you start to read scenes that a strikingly realistic. It’s reminds me of when I was read the Book Thief and the feeling of dread you feel when you know something bad is going to happen. But the thing with animal farm you reach the pinnacle moment after many steeping blocks of forebodement (Is that a word? Well it is now!) the story just leaves you at the top hill and never lets you go back down.
When you hear about all of the communist/Soviet Union symbolisms and references that Animal Farm is full of you may wonder how this book has readers as young as ten or younger. The writing. The writing is very simplistic and characters are given simple roles. Though this makes the story clear to follow, I can’t help but think that Orwell couldn’t of made things a bit deeper.
But saying this, I can see him using the less is more trick within the book. Maybe the book wasn’t meant to be deep as such but a clear picture of why communism could never work out, as clear as chalk and cheese.
Anywho, the writing really is superb even in its simple form. I mean I can just imagine the scenes of the pigs (SPOILER) marching out of the farmhouse on their hind legs wearing hats and jackets with whips in hand. It is shockingly creepy and even though I could feel this moment coming, I still gasped at shock.
We have a cast of characters in the story, but some of main ones are Napoleon, Squealer Snowball, the pigs, Boxer and Clover, the horses, the sheep and Benjamin. Sadly, I think to maybe fully appreciate the characters made you need to know a bit about the Soviet Union, but you can still distinctly identify each of their roles in Animal Farm. This story is pretty much plot driven so characters are given to simplistic swipe of the brush, so there isn’t much to talk about. A special mention to Boxer though! He was a rather loveable character.
A problem I had with the characters though was that almost all if them were incredibly stupid. Maybe this was to show how humans normally blindly follow a leader and ignore the warning signs, but some scenes I just had to exclaim you got to be kidding me!
What I liked:
- It is fantastically written
- The plot conveys a serious message in a effortless sort of way
- How Orwell symbolises the many injustices in the world
What I disliked:
- Sometimes everything was too simple
- The ending! I wanted another rebellion!
This creepily realistic tale is crafted with startling simplicity while still being able to created detailed pictures of every terrible action in your head. An absolute read for EVERYBODY!