Monday, 12 January 2015

"E I E I O" - My review of Animal Farm

I originally chose this book for the "book you can finish in a day" category for the PopSugar challenge, but I decided it would also be a good choice for The Classics Club challenge too.

I have owned Animal Farm by George Orwell for years and at one point it spent about a year on my bathroom floor as I was planning on reading it while soaking in the bath, but just kept choosing other books instead. 

Before I continue, I should say that there are spoilers in my review, if you've read the book, then please do carry on reading, if not then go away, read the book and then come back and carry on reading,

The book is written exceptionally well and I'd say that the language used stands the test of time and if you read it without knowing how old the book was, you wouldn't realise that it wasn't a modern story. However there is something I hate in this book and that  is the songs! Oh how I hate songs in books, I always skip over them. I skipped them in The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. I just don't read songs in books unless I absolutely have to and even then its begrudgingly. 

About the actual story, I know its based on the Soviet Union at the time but in animal form and that obviously this is a story, but there were just some things that I felt were "off". I feel that after the initial speech that Major gave about having a dream and that animals should rise up and life would be better etc, he mentioned that no matter what, when animals died they were sent to the knackers and yet when he dies a few days later, he was buried nicely under a tree on the farm grounds. To me this should have raised questions immediately as to what he had said about the way they were being treated and should have caused doubts in the minds of the more intelligent animals. 

Another thing that I could not quite get my head around was the fact that Farmer Jones would just abandon his farm whether his animals had attacked or that he was an alcoholic. It was stated that he had a shot gun from the beginning and even if he didn't have it on him when they attacked and he had to run off, any normal human being, let alone a farmer, would have come back with others if necessary and whipped the animals back into shape or had them slaughtered to make money off their meat. I can't see why a human would give up their home and lively hood over one case of crazy animals. Yes the way he was treating the animals and the farm itself was terrible and no he did not deserve to have any of it, but that wouldn't change his own mind about the fact that he owned the property. 

Around two thirds of the way into the book, you cold be mistaken for thinking that you were reading 1984 (a book which I love) due to the "big brother" atmosphere and the regimented way things were being run. By this stage I was just waiting for the end as I felt the story had pretty much run its course and all I wanted to see was which way Orwell would go with the ending. When it did finally finish, the story was just left hanging, which I guess must have been the intention to show that life goes on and that nothing has really changed, but I would have liked something a little more definite or even, as it is a story, a happier ending. 

There were a few characters in the book that I really liked, but none as much as the big strong work horse, Boxer. He was such a solid character, he was loyal and hard working and cared for everyone, putting their needs before his own. I expected his death for most of the book and when it did happen, I was upset (though not to the point of tears). I did feel more could have been done with his death and that more of a rebellion would have arisen from what occurred, but it was all smoothed over within two sentences. 

All in all, this is a good book and one that I would definitely recommend to other people. It only took me just over two hours to read, so it is not a book that will eat up much of your time. 

I started reading this book on the 9th of January 2015 and completed it on the 10th of January 2015
I gave this book a 3.5 star rating (well I would have if they allowed .5 stars) on Goodreads


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