Sunday, September 20

Book Review Anthem


Title: Anthem

Author: Ayn Rand

Pages: 105

Summary: Anthem has long been hailed as one of Ayn Rand's classic novels, and a clear predecessor to her later masterpieces, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. In Anthem, Rand examines a frightening future in which individuals have no name, no independence, and no values. Equality 7-2521 lives in the dark ages of the future where all decisions are made by committee, all people live in collectives, and all traces of individualism have been wiped out. Despite such a restrictive environment, the spark of individual thought and freedom still burns in him--a passion which he has been taught to call sinful. In a purely egalitarian world, Equality 7-2521 dares to stand apart from the herd--to think and choose for himself, to discover electricity, and to love the woman of his choice. Now he has been marked for death for committing the ultimate sin. In a world where the great "we" reign supreme, he has rediscovered the lost and holy word--"I."

My Rating: 7.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This book was a quick read, but it was still very heavy on themes of finding ones self, an individual, in a collective society. This society has no need for “I” or “me”, it’s only “we”, even when a person is taking about themselves. Which can throw you off a bit, when you first read the book, but once you get used to that, it’s a hard book to put down.
I really enjoyed following Equality 7-2521, as we followed him through as he slowly comes to terms that he is a person, an individual and not part of a community of people.

Rand’s writing captures the reader easily, although, because this is written as a collection of thoughts from Equality 7-2521, rather then a story, the writing can be a little, jumbled, almost like jumbled thoughts, which is what I think the author intended, but it’s hard to get a good grasp on her writing style this way. I would have liked to see a bit more of her style, but the way it was written worked for the book, as you peeped into the characters head, and were able to experience/read his thought process as he examined himself as a community of people, or “we”, to finding himself as an individual.

It was very different and usual read. A lot of philosophical and psychological issues in here, so it makes it hard to review without getting into that, but it was a good book in the dystopian genre, on how collective societies and the oppression some face within them.

Would I recommend it to read: I’d recommend the book, but I think a lot of people may not like the book, just because it’s very heavy on philosophical/psychological examination of the self. It’s not a book that is a light read. It’s a short book, so it doesn’t take long to read it, but it’s a book that is heavy on what you take out of it, and a book that makes you think. It’s a great book for a book club, where you can debate what you’ve read after, but for the most part I’d say it’s worth reading, but may not be for everyone.

What to read next: The Giver (for YA Fans), Brave New World,

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 999 Challenge



7 comments:

  1. Is it bad for me to say that Ayn Rand kind of turns me off? I really don't like her very much, even though I've never read her books. Just what she stands for. I don't know. It's probably a silly prejudice. I plan to read this book at some point first because I love dystopias and second because I want to explore my feelings about Rand's work without delving into something gigantic like Atlas Shrugged.

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  2. I read this book because my sister, who wasn't a reader at all at the time, recommended it. And I liked it, of course. I especially love the edition in which we see the heavy revision she put the book through for republication.

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  3. I think I read this a long time ago, but can't remember much of it. Mayber I should pull it out again.

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  4. I remember reading this in high school, but it was so long ago that I've forgotten a lot of it. I can't say that it was a book that I loved, but I remember thinking it had a lot of strong messages. I have since read some other books by Rand, and while I thought they were well written, I didn't fall in love with any of them. Maybe she is just not the author for me. I liked your review though, it was very thoughtful and intelligently written.

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  5. While I enjoyed this book, I've since found that there are so many BETTER dystopias. It was it's own, but upon rereading, it was a bit overly philosophical, rather than plot-driven. Yeah, like you say, that was a turn off. I like We by Zamyatin better if you're looking for something similar, but less philosophical.

    At least I think that's a little less philosophical. I guess dystopias always has some philosophical stuff in them.

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  6. Hm, interesting review. I've never read a book of hers but would like to. Maybe I should read this to get a feel for her and then read Atlas Shrugged later?

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  7. Jena - I had that edition from the library, I skimmed it a bit, bit wasn't interested much.

    Amanda - this one is really short, so if you want to explore her, without the giganticness of Atlas Shurgged, worth a try. - My edition was 105 pages, and the font was fairly big.

    Zibilee - Glad you enjoyed the review. Rand is one of those authors who are not for everyone, a friend who recommend Atlas Shrugged to me said most people really like her, or really dislike her novels. (Although, that might be the thickness of one of her books.. hmm)

    Rebecca - Thanks for the recommendation, I'll have to check it out.

    Jenny - This is a good to start out with the the author to see if you like her writing style. Although I've heard great things about Atlas Shurgged too, it's just ..... long.

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