1984 by George Orwell: A Short Review

After spending two weeks with 1984 by George Orwell, I finally managed to finish this book on the first day of February. As a classic dystopian novel published in 1949 but taking place in 1984, this book imagines a world completely different: freedom is slavery, and Oceania, the superstate Winston Smith lives in, is ruled by the Party with Big Brother at the top of the pyramid.

Winston has to be careful with his actions and thoughts. He, like everyone else, is constantly being watched by the Thought Police through the telescreens that are glued everywhere. One wrong move, even as out of control as an indication of defiance during sleep talking, will surely be followed by a complete erasure from the public eye. So when Winston starts to meet another Party member, Julia, in secret and forms an alliance against Big Brother, both realize what is at stake.

While the premise might sound like this book could be another recently published dystopian fantasy novel, the narrative underneath is a contradiction. If I had to describe 1984 in a few words, I would pick: clever, creepy, and painful.

For the complexity of the world-building, I tipped my hat. All aspects were brilliantly considered, especially the Newspeak language and its hidden agenda to limit conversations (this one is "doubleplusclever" for a dystopian fiction). Every little detail seemed to have been given an in-depth consideration. Winston and Julia were distinguishable individuals, both serving prominent purposes in the story.

Sadly, the pace this book offered was too slow to my liking. I felt like this book dragged unnecessarily, making the creepiness less effective in affecting its readers. It didn't exactly pick up in the last few chapters either, since 1984 managed to keep its pace slow and steady until the very end, but I would say that the ending suggested so much to think about, so much to speculate. Its grim tone pained me, but I guess the message was what this book was aiming for.

In conclusion, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I had thought I would, but please don't let this review hold you back from picking up this book. Under the comment section of my latest bookstagram post, I have gathered that this book is a masterpiece for so many of my friends. If you ask me, I would argue that this book must be a huge hit or a careless miss.

Actual rating: 2.9