Hi, Hey, Hello!
Another Sunday, another book review. And I for one have to say that I am really happy that I can get this review out of the way. It’s not that I hated this book (although to be honest I kind of did) but I do know that in the time it took to read this I also read the last 4 (or 5, I honestly cannot remember) books that have been reviewed on here recently.
The book in question is this one:
I have seen half of the film, I had mock history exams or actual exams or a trip or something that meant when it came around to watching the second half of this film in GCSE English I wasn’t there and therefore I still have only seen half of the film. I can’t say I enjoyed what I saw of the film enough to remedy that to be honest and given that I am now 23 and I was 15/16 when I saw what I saw of the film it’s probably safe to say that I won’t be watching it any time soon.
This sort of blasé attitude to the film is what stopped me from reading the book to be honest. I just couldn’t see why the book would hold my attention and not just annoy me to no end like it’s film adaptation. And I was right. It didn’t hold my attention for very long in the slightest. I’m being overly negative right now I know, but it’s just one of those classics that everyone seems to hold in some sort of high regards and I honestly just do not understand why. And therein lies my problem to be honest.
I went in with expectations, because you sometimes can’t help it when something has the word ‘classic’ attached to it (especially when it has the words ‘winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature written on the front cover), and those expectations were not even close to being reached. In fact I was just left with a big fat ‘really?’ when I finally closed the book back cover first (is that a normal thing to do by the way? Finish a book, but do so that you’re looking at the blurb and not at the front cover? Like it’s a psychologically definitive way of finishing a book? Does this tangent even make sense?). This book is also the first time in a long time where I have truly disliked all aspects of a book as a reader, but as someone who spent many years looking at the way I could analyse the information written on a shampoo bottle and make it sound studious, from a literary perspective I could appreciate it as a text. If that makes sense at all.
So I’m gonna continue this review using the literary part of me, because I feel like I’ve gotten my point across. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book for any other reason but the fact that it’s a classic and apparently you’re supposed to read it…Anyway onwards.
Even though it was a relatively short book, it somehow managed to feel incredibly long. It was something to do with the pacing I think, it felt both like it was moving along too fast and then also too slow. It almost mirrored the way those stranded on the island felt, like there was no true concept of time and they just had to keep moving. It was interesting that that was how I interpreted this narrative and think it’s definitely to do with the way I related to it as a whole because I felt like it kept stalling, but I could see also see it as a mirror in some respects.
There were some beautiful images created from the outset as Golding set up the island almost as another protagonist and the way the island was presented like that definitely came into play as the novel progressed and the boys started to fear aspects of it and witness parts of it being used against them. It was almost like the main enemy ultimately and it felt like that intention was formed from the opening pages as the reader had to take in the surroundings of this tale along with Ralph.
Which leads me nicely onto the characters. I spent a lot of time thinking ‘oh my gosh you’re so stupid’ before remembering each and every time that of course they were, they are all children. The fact that they were children, specifically all boys, made it interesting as to how power would play out and it was good how early Golding set out these divides, mainly between Ralph and Jack. I could see both sides as to why they thought they were right, but I kept screaming in my head that they needed to listen to Ralph because what he was saying made sense. Fire means smoke, smoke means signal, higher chance of being found, I could not fathom why the others didn’t listen to that (and it worked in the end because a massive fire made someone on a ship think ‘shit, what’s going on there?’). But then I also got it to an extent, the freedom of not having to listen to adults and make your own rules way before you thought you’d have to. It can make people do crazy things, especially when compounded by the fact that they are on an island with no visible hope of being saved.
So I understood where Jack was coming from, but I still ultimately felt like they should have maybe paid attention to the conch. The system could have worked if only they had given a chance. But it would have probably made for a very boring book, conflict is interesting. And the conflict in this was interesting…ish. I don’t know why it didn’t capture me but it didn’t. Maybe it’s a cultural thing…like in a world where The Hunger Games exist and there are children killing children for sport, the slow demise of civilisation for a bunch of 6-11 year old boys seems a bit tame. And that problem is on me, I can acknowledge that, but yeah I just didn’t really care.
The metaphor of the ‘beast’ was something I actually did enjoy. How they were projecting their fear onto some non-existent mythological beast and in doing that becoming beasts themselves was cleverly created. I liked how it became apparent that the boys were the beast that they so desperately feared and that became apparent when they mistakenly killed Simon but was confirmed to the point of no return when they actively kill Piggy. That death acts as the final nail in their childlike innocence coffin and it was almost amusing how it was in the aftermath of that whole shitstorm that help showed up to save them. They had almost gone past the point of no return and would probably never be ‘children’ again, but they were so close to redemption.
Which brings me onto the final thing about this that I liked, and this might just because I’m British and am used to that whole ‘stiff upper lip’ stereotype, but the disappointment on the naval officer that it was British children that had let themselves get into that state and then just awkwardly stares at his ship instead of the carnage that these boys have descended into amused me to no end. It almost made this book end on a positive note for me (which it actually really should do already, because they are being saved, but ho hey).
Parentheses count: 6. See you tomorrow!
Find me here: