Fahrenheit 451

S. & S. Jan. 2012. 256p. pap. $17. ISBN 9781451673319.
Gr 8 Up–Although this novel was originally published in 1951, it is still relevant and thought-provoking today. Fireman Guy Montag’s job is to set fire to books and the houses where people are harboring them. Then he heads home to his wife, Mildred, who spends time with her televised “family” all day. Guy doesn’t question his actions or his wife’s pastime until he meets Clarisse, his unconventional neighbor, who challenges him to look at life differently. He starts to question his work and the lack of depth in his relationship with Mildred. After Clarisse disappears, Guy connects with a professor who helps him see that it’s not the books themselves, but the ideas that can be learned from the books that matter. When he is called to an assignment to burn down his own home, he turns on his Captain and flees before a bomb is suddenly dropped on the city. This novel is set in a world different from ours, and yet many of the themes will resonate with today’s readers. This speculative fiction work is perfect for discussions on the repercussions of suppressing First Amendment rights. The comparisons that can be made between current events and those in the story will benefit classroom use.
VERDICT A must-buy for all libraries that serve teens.

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