by Ray Bradbury
Reviewed by Ruby
Guy is a fireman. His job is to light books on fire. He enjoys his job, until he meets a strange 17 year old girl who asks him an important question. Is he happy? His first reply is yes, but as he thinks about it, he is not happy. He hasn't been happy for awhile. His wife almost OD's on sleeping pills, whether accidentally or on purpose, he isn't sure and he sees a woman set herself on fire with her books. Suddenly nothing is right at all. He steals a book to read it, only to be discovered. It's only natural his boss tells him. What his captain doesn't know is that this isn't the first time. He has twenty books. He is found out and he runs, after burning his house and his boss. He makes his way to the country where he finds scholars that have memorized books for safe keeping until the world is ready to need them again. The night he ran from the city a war broke out and his city was destroyed. Slowly the scholars and he make their way back to help rebuild.
I enjoyed this book greatly. It's eerie how the future in this book, even though it was written in the 50's is one that might actually happen. With everyone in United States living in luxury and bliss and apathy. Not even caring enough to raise their children sending them to school for 9 days out of ten and then parking them in the parlor: a TV that fills the walls of the entire room. Not caring if they ran over someone in their car that is traveling 150 miles and hour (literally). They are so busy playing sports and watching the parlor and listening the endless radio signal, they don't care that the rest of the world is in poverty or even if they themselves die. Many of them do, they kill themselves and no one cares.
There are many images of fire throughout this book. The tile itself refers to the temperature that books burn. There are salamanders and fireflies and phoenixes and dragons and glowing worms and so on. Sometimes I feel that he went a little overboard with them. There are points in the story that Guy rambles on for a few pages and I have no idea what the hell is going on. I enjoy imagery and symbolism a lot, but even I found there was an enormous amount in this book.
Oh well, it's still a good book.