Sunday Book Review – 1984 by George Orwell

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Book reviews by D.G. Kaye


Today’s book review is on George Orwell’s 1984. 

As the political climate in government heats up in the U.S., many readers have been going back to this book and finding ‘similarities’ in what seems to be happening in the ‘new order’ of presidency. I read this decades ago but after re-reading, found it an unsettling read, yet couldn’t put the book down.



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First published in 1949, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four has lost none of the impact with which it first hit readers. Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent – even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101. . .


My 5 Star Review


It has been a long, long time since I’d read this book in high school but felt compelled to read it again due to the many references to the book made because of the current change in US government. Many comparisons have been made to this book with the new world of ‘alternative facts’ and ‘authoritarian’ governments.

A worthy read and interesting, if not frightening food for thought, and although a well written book, I found the book quite disturbing.

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  1. I wonder if there was such ‘nasty’-ness in Orwell’s world. Who would think…

    1. Either that or what an imagination! 🙂

  2. I didn’t quite ‘get’ this book in high school. Just seemed really dark and ‘sci-fi-ish.’ Then I read it a couple of years ago when I was tutoring high school students in English. The book is brilliant! Not only should every college student read it (it may be lost on high schoolers) but every ADULT should read it every decade or so. Perhaps if they did, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now….. :-0
    Just sayin’…….

    1. I absolutely agree with you on all counts Pam! I especially agree that the concept of the book may be too advanced for a high schooler to fully take in. Certainly it is something that would do a lot of people good to re-read again at this time in the world. 🙂 x

      1. In contrast to Pam, I first read 1984 in High School and *never* forgot the warning or my horror at “do it to Julia” – probably the book most responsible for my Progressive leanings today (much to my ‘conservative’ father’s consternation!) It also inspired my life-long fascination with linguistic science – which the Republican Party has used to evil advantage, I was able to recognize easily.

        I don’t have the guts to attempt this book again right now – too close to Orange-ade poisoning. The daily missives from the top are unsettling enough.

        Another one that brought chills was Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale – no accident that it is getting another life in today’s political climate! I hope everyone watching the augmented version GETS the implicit warning. It most certainly could happen here – and we’re getting increasingly closer to the edge with every new tactic from America’s current administration. ::shudder::
        (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
        ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
        “It takes a village to educate a world!”

        1. Without publicly getting into my views on politics, suffice it to say I’m with you on every word. The only difference is I did feel compelled to re-read this book, as did, the book On Tyranny because although I don’t talk about politics on my blog, I’m very much engaged.
          Oh, The Handmaid’s Tale, I’ve been watching the series on TV which was no doubt made into a series because of the political climate and a huge heads up of the possibility that such horrors could actually take place in today’s world. Truly disturbing to watch, yet I can’t stop.
          You know exactly where I stand on the ‘Darth Bronzer’ issue. (My version of your Orange-ade, LOL) . Hugs my friend.! 🙂 <3

          1. ‘Darth Bronzer’ – lol – a new one for me. I love it! I love the book and hope the political climate changes substantially so I can reread it and NOT weep.

            No TV, so I’ll no doubt be binge watching ‘Handmaid’ on Hulu eventually. The book was so still in tone thru most of it – I can’t even imagine what they had to do to hold the attention of the wham-bam watchers.

          2. I’ve been watching it presented by HULU. I have to say, they did a heck of a job with the series. It helps that they allowed Atwood to have her say in matters concerning the production, a luxury that many authors don’t get a say about when their books go to screen. 🙂 xx

  3. Great that you gave this one another read, Debby. I wonder if Orwell would be shocked at how Big Brother has come to be a ruler so many years after his book published. He meant it as fiction! Scary indeed. Appreciate your thoughts in this review!

    1. Thanks for chiming in Christy. Indeed the scary part was it was written as fiction over a half a century ago. You know what they say , , ,There’s truth in fiction! 🙂 <3

  4. You’re right. For some reason I remember Animal Farm much better than 1984. They are both quite apt for the times. Thanks, Debby!

    1. True to that Olga. Thanks for stopping by. <3

  5. I think this book is awesome… A bit creepy, I am with you…. I was amazed when I found out that the title of the reality Big Brother (which is quite shallow anyway) was taken from this book. It makes sense.
    There are some memorable quotes in this book (often related to hegemony, knowledge & power)…. I am adding three (Credits go to Good reads:) 1) “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past”. 2)“The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better” 3) “Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.”
    Thank you for sharing dear Debbie… wishing you a beautiful new week! 🙂

    1. Thank you for sharing those quotes Aq. I should have added those thoughts into the review, they certainly are quoted that make us think. And yes, Big Brother is watching us everywhere. Scary to think what could possibly come after. Definitely a haunting book and for me an uncomfortable read even though I was compelled to finish it. 🙂 xx

  6. This was a fantastic book review, Debby! 🙂 I really liked how much you mentioned made an impact on my recent read of this book.

    I do feel that George Orwell could see the potential of danger, even in his own era. I am always happy when a classic is revisited, especially one with so much meaning in its message!
    This book was talked about not only in my school but by my parents who lived through McCarthyism. They actually were personally concerned at how disrespectful people were towards racial injustice and told us about Japanese internment camps in our own country.

    Some things weren’t in our history books. I am still surprised when I find out something else I never knew about happened, like NASA and the recent movie, “Hidden Figures.”

    1. Thanks for sharing your opinion here Robin. Yes, Orwell had an uncanny insight about the possibility of governments taking over and altering democracy. Certainly strikes a chord with the political climate of today. x x

  7. This book was gifted to me when I was in college but I never cared to read it…didn’t know its value!! Thanks for the recommendation Deb, I’ll keep it in mind.

    1. I think this book will have a much bigger impact on adults rather than high school kids. Written decades ago as a fiction sci-fi, but haunting ideology that will have us thinking about how easily a government can be altered. 🙂

  8. Like you, it’s been years since I read this. You are making me want to re-read it. It’s a fantastic book. But, again, like you said, I’d probably get even more out of it now. Great pick for a review!

    1. Thanks Sarah. A worthy read indeed. <3

  9. Great to share a review of a well-loved and “old” book, Debby. I read it a long time ago, too, but remember the “thought police’ and “big Brother.” It is always so fascinating to read future sci fi, then look back on the date with a sense of deja vu and realize how much has come to pass.

    1. That’s why I read it Ter. And by seeing what’s come to pass is quite unsettling. 🙂 x

  10. Thank you, Debby, for this book review. I have only read Animal Farm by George Orwell but this sounds like a must read.

    1. It’s a book that makes one thing and shudder. Thanks Robbie. 🙂 x

  11. Yes I’ll have to read this one again, as like you, the last time I read it was at school.

    1. That seems to be what most are saying here Stevie. In school I had no interest. I just felt like I needed to revisit it as much news has been bringing up that book and comparing current politics to an ‘Orwellian’ era. A good read, but quite disturbing. 🙂

      1. Big Brother is definitely watching us all now.

        1. You got that right! Nowhere to hide really. Do make sure to cover your webcams on your computer when not using. Seriously!

          1. Yes my husband does that. Now you’ve mentioned it I think I ought to as well.

          2. 🙂 🙂

  12. I think I read that book in the 1960’s and I remember how far into the future 1984 seemed to me at the time. It was a disturbing read but I’ve lost the details in my crowded mind. I’m sure I’d find it interesting to read it again.

    1. It was truly disturbing Molly. And I can’t imagine teens appreciating the seriousness of an authoritarian world, or the possibility of that world ever happening back in the 60s. 🙂

  13. I’ve been meaning to read the book for some time, but I haven’t yet. It’s on my to-read list.

    1. Curious to hear what you think, especially that you never read it. 🙂

  14. I’m pretty sure it’s meant to be disturbing.
    What’s more disturbing is how much it presages some of today’s situations. That’s truly scary.
    Great to be reminded of this gem, thanks Deb.
    I just started watching the TV adaptation of Margaret Attwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ – equally horrifying in how easy it is to imagine it really happening.

    1. Deb! I’ve been watching Handmaid’s Tale too. Next week is the season finale. Although addicting, it’s truly horrifying and not unlike Orwell’s theory. Yes, it’s an uncomfortable read but I felt a must read. 🙁

  15. I’m not sure I totally got 1984 when I read it in high school, but parts of it did linger with me and resonate today. Hubs is reading ON TYRANNY and will be passing it on to me. Have never read HANDMAID’S TALE, however, the comments here have piqued my curiosity. I’m adding it to my TBR.

    1. All 3 are quite disturbing Michelle. But nonetheless all 3 are currently in the forefront of reading since the coming of the new US government. xx

      1. Don’t get me started.

  16. At least Big Brother/The Thought Police were intelligent.

    1. I want to say LOL, but I can’t even. 🙁

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