I'm ashamed to say that during High School I made the grave mistake of using cliff notes to get through reading Fahrenheit 451. I did that for most books in High School and College and am just now going back and reading the for the first time. Like Orwell's 1984, Fahrenheit 451 is as relevant if not even more so in today's culture.
The first thing that struck me about Fahrenheit 451 is that it's actually a pretty straightforward and easy ready. Unlike many books that are "assigned reading" Fahrenheit 451 has a straightforward premise. It's set in a world where firefighters instead of putting out fires, start fires by burning books, and anyone associated with them.
What rang true most of all was towards the middle of the novel there's a scene in which the main character, Guy Montag is interacting with his wife and her two friends. It's a scene in which he reads a couple verses of poetry and the reactions of each of the characters was so distinct and so different that it took me off guard. The way in which Bradbury is able to convey the dichotomy between wanting to be happy and avoiding reality is something I wrestle with. Do I ignore the injustice in the world for my own happiness or do I fully embrace the fact that there are horrors taking place all around me?
And that's what I loved most of all about Fahrenheit 451, it made me contemplate my own life. I didn't find the story to be overly satisfying, especially the ending, but the questions it raises are profound. And its because of that, that I'm disappointed I hadn't read it earlier and urge anyone who likes my cliff noted my way through it to go back and enjoy this marvelous novel.