Animal Farm by George Orwell

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars.

George Orwell is a genius. If you haven’t read this book and 1984 yet, I highly recommend you do. Animal Farm is a perfect reflection of Russia under Stalin, utilizing a myriad of metaphors and not-so-subtle characterizations to convey the cruelty of communism.

But I had the same problem reading Animal Farm as I did with 1984. It was so dreadfully depressing. The first ten pages of this book revealed the horror of humankind, and the last ten pages disturbed me to the point that I couldn’t fall asleep that night without considerable effort.

I suppose I am being a little sensitive to the point of stupidity harsh for knocking off 1.5 stars simply because the book was sad. However, it’s not the melancholy aspect of the novel that disappointed me – it was the lack of hope. At least in 1984 the reader is pulled along by the promise of a revolution (aka, a hint of hope) but in Animal Farm there is no anticipation of absolution. By the end I wouldn’t have been surprised if a random bomb appeared and blew up the entire farm, killing off all the animals in one grand explosion.

Though one could argue that the sheer hopelessness of this novel portrays the sheer hopelessness of those living in Russia under Stalin’s rule, in which case George Orwell really is a genius. Anyway, this book deserves more than a 3.5 based solely on literary value, but as I rate by personal preference and enjoyment, I’m sticking with a 3.5.

My nine-year-old cousin just told me to give this book five stars because of the cute pig on the cover. I can’t wait until she reads this…

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15 Comments

Filed under 3.5 stars, Book Reviews, Books

15 responses to “Animal Farm by George Orwell

  1. Christina

    Heyy, just found you on goodreads a while ago and started to stalk your blog XD. Never heard of George Orwell but definitly will follow on it now. Thanks for your awesome reviews!

    Btw, your a gaga fan right? What do you think of the new vid of You and I? I love it! Although i don’t really know what’s going on…

    • Hey there – you’re welcome, thanks for subscribing and commenting! You’ll most likely have to read something by George Orwell in your high school or college English classes, but if you don’t have any other novels to read immediately I’d recommend his work. (:

      Yes, I’m a huge Gaga fan. To be honest I have mixed feelings toward the video. I thought certain scenes were directed beautifully but some parts were messy and over-exaggerated – you’re definitely not alone on not knowing what’s going on, I think I understand about 50-60% of that video after two views.

      I’ve been thinking about writing a review of Born This Way (the album) or some of its individual songs/singles, but I’ve been swamped as of late and I’m still sorting out my feelings for this “new” Gaga… I miss her “Just Dance” days. Oh well.

      – Thomas

  2. Interesting. I studied Animal Farm some years ago. The only positive aspect is the fact that it was eventually published (and continues to be published) and serves as a warning; Orwell originally found it very difficult to find a publisher. His usual publisher wouldn’t publish it, and even the poet T.S. Eliot, a director at Faber & Faber, refused it!

  3. I have been trying to decide what to do my next report on in our world politics class. You talked me in to the Animal Farm by George Orwell.

    Thanks
    Alex

  4. Scala

    I believe I’ve read this nearly ten years ago; school assignment. ‘Twas fun, though we hadn’t much a good grasp on its in-depth meaning. We just thought it was hilarious, especially when the horse got wrongly delivered to a butcher. Well, would not a doubt read this again.

    • I found it strange when some of my friends mentioned that they had read this book in middle school (when they were 13/14). It seems too young of an age to understand what the book represents, but nevertheless it serves as a good reading experience. Hope you enjoy it the second time around.

  5. Both ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984’ are wonderful books, but ‘1984’ is my favourite of the two for precisely the reason that you rated it down: it’s so depressing. But what haunts me more than the general ‘Big Brother’ feel to it, or the typical ‘cage of rats’ torture, is the decrease of language.

    This probably isn’t a relevant comment for a review of ‘Animal Farm’, but nonetheless the undoing of language in ‘1984’ is wonderfully presented and terrifying- and it is Orwell-related! There can be no unease without the ability to describe unease; eventually, rebellion would simply fade away, without a language to support it. And it’s this that scares me most of all; the removal of language. Without the ability to disagree, people succumb to tyrannies.

    But yes, anyway, that was a great review of ‘Animal Farm’ and I appreciate your honesty about why you didn’t give it a greater rating. I once went to see a performance of it at the theatre, and they actually constructed a huge windmill on the stage whilst wearing shoes on their hands! Impressive stuff. And again, terrifying. Orwell certainly does that very well 🙂

    • Thanks Anna! I wholeheartedly agree, the lack of language in 1984 is truly disturbing. Like my Latin teacher always says, without the ability to read and write we wouldn’t be able to comprehend what was going on around us – including if our freedom was being taken away.

      Although I only gave Animal Farm a 3.5, it and 1984 will both be books I’ll never forget.

  6. Scala

    I’ve finished rereading the book. I hope you don’t mind me sharing what I thought. I was like reading the history of the Philippines. Aside the fact that Filipinos had retained their own version of “Beasts of England” and stuck to their “Manor Farm” name. Anyway, I hope I’d be the Snowball type. I don’t really care of the aspect of being cast out, or deprived. As long as I don’t end up ignorant or… just like those other pigs.

    • Of course I don’t mind, I was hoping you’d share your thoughts after rereading the book. I think one of the most important lessons to walk away with after reading Animal Farm is to strive to be a “Snowball type”, and I’m assuming that’s one of the lessons Orwell was trying to drive home with readers. The ignorance of the other animals and the behavior of the pigs scared and depressed me, the Russian Revolution really was sad. 😦

  7. I’ve read this a few years back, but purely because of the sake of reading because the world was about to end of boredom and I had to idea of the political allusions. So I skimmed after Animal Farm was mentioned by my professor in sociology class and I plan on re-reading it soon,
    As for the Russians, at any rate I wouldn’t have imagined they had anything to do with the book (thanks for the eye-opener), though I’ve become somewhat interested in their politics a while back since I saw part of a documentation on Perestroika. Russia back then was without no doubt a terrible place to live.
    I’ll keep my eyes open when have another go at it again. 🙂

    • One of the best part of rereading books is learning new things about novels you had never thought of before. I’m glad I could help point out some things about this book in particular, because it is rife with allusions to Russia (well… it pretty much is an allusion to Russia).

      Tell me what you think of it the second time around! (:

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