I am probably the last member of my generation to read this book, but better late than never, as they say. Of course this is a classic and I have no new critical insight to add. I started out listening to the audiobook version and ended up reading it on Kindle. I am not a big fan of it as a story. I found it really hard to relate to the characters and the storytelling just felt stiff to me. What I liked about this book is the look it gives into societal issues that have been with us forever, like discrimination, and the issues that could very soon become a reality, like cloning. Regarding the science portrayed, I think it is important as individuals and as members of a larger society, to consider the potential future implications of the scientific developments that seem to be coming at us fast and furious. In this book, the government has become the parents of every member of society and children are trained to do one thing and one thing only. Is that something we really want? The idea expressed of “peace at all costs” seems to be too high a price to pay. And yet, I fear that some of our current leaders would take us down just that path. If nothing else, this book provides a jumping off point for some very important discussions. But most importantly, it gives a glimpse of a future that is not so far-fetched in the 21st century as it was when the 1930’s.
The discrimination issue also stood out to me very strongly. It seems like we have been talking about this issue forever and yet it never goes away. In my lifetime, I’ve seen the employment discrimination laws passed and affirmative action go in and out of favor. I also know that one of the ways that our brains organize our world is by “discriminating” red from blue, and apple from orange. In my opinion, it’s not the concept that’s wrong but the application. The way it is used in this story, to dictate the path of an individual’s life, is blatantly wrong and a violation of what it means to be human. The value of this presentation is that it gives the reader an opportunity, if they take it, to evaluate their own ways of discriminating and determine if they go too far. Because we are individuals, we should always be evaluating each other as individuals, not groups.
I appreciate this book for the issues it addresses, and the thinking that it engenders. I think it is still relevant for readers of today and I encourage anyone who hasn’t yet picked it up to do so.
Alinefromabook’s rating: 4 stars!!