[Book Review] 1984 by George Orwell

1984 is thought provoking. A book that gets under your skin and truly makes you think.

What would you do in a time where the past is flexible, your thoughts altered, and no freedom?

Winston works for the Party, he rewrites facts as he is instructed, but he is curious. He remembers things from the past, and he knows that history is not true. He meets a young lady called Julia, and together they embark on a relationship that defies the Party. Perhaps one of the more interesting parts is where they know of the consequences they face, but they are willing to face them. They will take responsibility for their actions, despite knowing what the punishment will be.

Writing a review of this book is hard, as it is such a mammoth book of things to unpack. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, but it was also terrifying. Orwell’s writing was ahead of his time, but the future he envisioned was terrifying. It poses the question of how much do we know is true, how much is the information we are being given only what we are told to hear. Is there ever truly any truth in what we are told.

In the current climate, his writing resonates, and this is what makes this novel so successful. Orwell’s writing is crisp, clear and insightful.

It is definitely a book I would recommend. It is a must read in the world we currently live in.

Reading Teen Fiction

Over the years, I’ve read quite a lot of teen fiction, or young adult fiction and immensely enjoyed it. There are so many gems in the genre, and some amazing writers.

Whilst studying English literature at undergraduate level, I discovered that there was some dissent to even considering teen fiction as literature.

There seems to be a stigma around reading teen fiction, about perhaps the way it is not considered literary enough for it be anything noteworthy. I have personally never understood this concept.

Literary fiction implies that the novel that is published under this name is somehow superior. The Oxford Dictionary describes literary as “Concerning the writing, study, or content of literature, especially of the kind valued for quality of form.” Quality of form implies that it is a well-written piece, or it is valued for it’s form, and it’s use of language, perhaps over the plot of the writing. This could also be seen as marking ‘literary fiction’ as a superior writing genre, as it is ‘quality of form’. It could could also imply that the person writing in this genre is somehow better than someone working in teen fiction, or even children’s fiction.

I’m curious as to why that is. Is there a certain aspect of teen fiction that doesn’t meet a certain criteria? Is there an element of classism that makes it not literary?

Classism wouldn’t be hard to rule out, if it is viewed as not literary, then that implies a substandard. That only ‘real’ readers will reader literary works, and that the ease of access of teen fiction or the aim at younger reading implies that there can not be a literary concept to teen fiction. The ease of access implies that anyone can read it, whereas if it were considered literary, it could imply that it is inaccessible to ‘normal’ readers.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!