Tag Archives: stalin

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…



Filed under 3.5 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Cover via Goodreads

Rating: 5/5 stars.

I read this book everywhere. In the school cafeteria and on the school’s tiled hallway floors, at the tennis courts, during an academic examination, and alone in my room. I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t want to put it down, either. I felt like I was carrying a small piece of something real, something bigger than just the words and the story contained inside the casing of the book. I felt like I was holding history, imbued with human emotion.

Ruta Sepetys’s descriptions and characterizations are perfect. There was one minor part where an old woman’s bread was taken away from her that tore at my heart, even though the scene didn’t take up more than a page. Alternatively, there were other parts concerning Lina and her relationships with those around her that caused me to rejoice in the strength of mankind.

After reading this book, I almost felt shame for not previously knowing the conditions that those who lived under Stalin suffered. How could anything so horrid and heart-wrenching stay a secret for so long? With Between Shades of Gray, Sepetys reveals the truth of World War II by telling a sad but ultimately uplifting story.


Filed under 5 stars, Book Reviews, Books