Friday, January 12, 2007

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060929871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060929879
  • List Price: $ 13.95
  • I finished this book on Jan. 12
  • Number 5 on the list
So, my dears, this is the first book of the mythic list that I have tried my hand at. Or rather my noodle. Either way, it's Number 5 on the Modern Library's list. Let me tell you, it's not really Number 5 in my heart.
Now, here's one of my great theories in life. A few people said that certain books or movies were really awesome, because they didn't understand them, and wanted to seem smart. This makes those who don't understand them feel stupid. I resolve to never, in the course of this blog or elsewhere, falsely pretend like I understood something or liked it because other smarty-pants said it was good.
Having said that, I did understand this book, but I'm still not sure how I feel about it. The book is about a dystopian/utopian society where everyone is born in test tubes and everyone has everyone. When I say 'has' I mean they are totally doing it with everyone. One of my favorite phrases early in the book is one young girl to another: "You really must be more promiscuous, you know." I'm not sorry, that's funny to me. But, I feel that in a book where everyone is having sex with everyone, I should get to have a sex scene. But no. Sigh. There is also a rigid caste system, complete with the purposeful genetic engineering of defects into the lower castes.
Anyway, I was totally with the book until about the last chapter, nay, the last page and then I totally didn't pick up the end. At all. I had to go to spark notes to figure out that one. Geez. Now I'm kinda mad that I spent time reading this and didn't get the end. That's kind of lame, I have decided. I feel that the idea of the world and the intended satire of commercialism were very interesting and worth my time, but that ending...
I also give this book high marks in readability. The characters are engaging, and, using the amazing power of context clues, you can follow the story even with the weird unexplained ways of this new world. That is another complaint I have of this story; to me there are two kinds of futury/different society books: Ones that give an explanation (however brief) or the world you are reading about, how it came to be etc. and ones that totally don't. This book is the latter. I'm not an idiot, mind you, I can figure some things out. Perhaps it's just that the way they got there seems very interesting to me. In some cases more interesting that the actual story.
In case anyone is interested: please enjoy the SparkNotes page on this book.
So, my informal rating on this one is: eh. You understand. All in all, though, not a bad first run for a book off of the (dun dun dun<---- foreboding music) List. Now I'm going to go be more promiscuous.

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