Book Review: Animal Farm by George Orwell

AnimalFarmCoverOfficial Synopsis from Amazon: A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned—a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.

When Animal Farm was first published, Stalinist Russia was seen as its target. Today it is devastatingly clear that wherever and whenever freedom is attacked, under whatever banner, the cutting clarity and savage comedy of George Orwell’s masterpiece have a meaning and message still ferociously fresh.

Genre: Classic literature
Setting: A farm in England, probably in the early 40s
My copy came from: I purchased a used copy at a library book sale. The cover pictured above is the cover my copy has.

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Review: Chilling and disturbing. This is a classic that everyone should read!

Animal Farm is one of those books that it seems everyone reads when in school. For some reason, I never had to read it, so here I am, reading it for the first time. And I really enjoyed it! It’s a short book; I was able to read it in one sitting, and while I didn’t necessarily understand all of the symbolism, its overall message is relevant and necessary.

Animal Farm starts out as one old boar, Old Major, gives a rousing speech to the animals at the farm about how man is bad, and how the animals do all the work, while man does nothing and takes all the profit. Old Major then dies, and two boars, Snowball and Napoleon, take over the farm, and bad things start happening. I really don’t want to spoil the story if you aren’t familiar with it, so I won’t say too much more about the plot!

All animals are equal
but some animals are more equal than others

Along with the pigs, we meet Benjamin, the old, cynical donkey on the farm, various other farm animals, and the dear old cart-horses, Boxer and Clover.

Animal Farm gave me a sick feeling in my stomach as I read it, as I could see where the story was going. The plot events, while not necessarily shocking, were disturbing and chilling. When the famous quote of the book appears, the reader is not surprised at all by the turn of events, but saddened and angered.

Man serves the interests of no creature except himself. And among us animals let there be perfect unity, perfect comradeship in the struggle. All men are enemies. All animals are comrades.

Animal Farm gave me a lot to think about, as I really connected with the workhorse Boxer and his motto of “I will work harder” when work just piles up. This is a very short book, my copy was just 128 pages long, and is something that can be read in one sitting. It’s definitely worth reading and gives plenty of food for thought.

Bottom Line: A must read that is applicable to our world today. Chilling.

Links:

Amazon **This is an affiliate link which means that if you click the link and purchase something, I receive a small commission**
Goodreads

Have you read Animal Farm? What did you think?


25 thoughts on “Book Review: Animal Farm by George Orwell

  1. I never got to read this in high school either, so I added it to my TBR list for this month! I’m excited to read it but know I’m going to really dislike the outcome most likely ha-ha. George Orwell is a phenomenal writer; I always recommend reading his works! Great review!

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    1. It’s a great read – so timely and powerful! I enjoyed this one more than 1984, which really freaked me out. I did love 1984, but am not so sure I want to read it again, where Animal Farm I can see myself re-reading.

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  2. I read it in high school and, since we were in the middle of the “Cold War” at the time it scared my sensitive (read: nervous) little soul; as did “1984”. I just ordered both so I can retread them and be horrified at how very apropo they are even today. Great review! Thanks for reminding me of then … Although every time I have to give my Social Security number to someone I swear I never gave it to to begin with, I think of 1984.

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    1. Thanks! 1984 is scary how much it is similar to modern society. With Animal Farm, I found it more fascinating than scary, as you can see how brainwashing happens, and how people in power prey on others. I actually thought when reading it that it is probably “required” reading for business owners, as one of the things mentioned is getting workers to work harder and put out more and more with less benefits and less wages…

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  3. I read it in school and loved it. And then I re-read it earlier this year and got a bit more picky about it! Always the way – I should know better than to re-read a book I used to love when I was young. But I still think it’s an important book with messages that, as you say, are still relevant today. Glad you enjoyed it – have you read 1984?

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    1. Yeah, that’s the bad thing about re-reading! I’m always worried that’s going to happen when I re-read a book. I have read 1984 – I actually just read it last year, and it freaked me out! It was so disturbing to see how frighteningly close Orwell got to modern society. I don’t know that I would willingly re-read 1984, as the ending of the book was just too much for me. I can see myself re-reading Animal Farm at some point, as I really thought the psychological aspects of it were fascinating.

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  4. Like all good classics, I loved this one because it can be as deep or not deep as you want it to be. On the surface it’s a fun story that you can enjoy, and if you want to take it further and dive into the political implications. I feel like any good classic should be able to be enjoyed either way (: But I do agree about this one sort of giving you a sick feeling – there are some awful social things that go on in that book!

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  5. I never read this book in school either. A few years ago, when I had to read aloud to practice using my hearing aids, my husband and I got into this rhythm. I read a chapter of a book to him each night. In the last year or so, he may read a book that he has chosen, and Animal Farm was one of those. He got this wacky idea that I needed to experience all the lit he read on his own when he was in high school. This is a terrible choice of book to read before bed. Each night we’d finish a chapter and I would lay there and feel awful. I, too, related to Boxer so deeply because I saw myself doing the same things he does: get loaded with more work while never asking questions because “it’s the right thing to do.” So, when we see the results of Boxer’s work and his life, I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed, and every time I thought about Boxer–for like a month–I would sob again. After that my husband read 1984 aloud to me, and it didn’t go much better. We don’t read the books he read on his own during high school anymore.

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    1. Oh wow, yeah, I can see why you wouldn’t want to read this and 1984 right before bed! Boxer’s story really hit me hard. His mantra is eerily similar to what I say to myself at work when work piles on. Mine is “work harder, work faster”. After reading this book, I will not be saying or thinking that any longer that’s for sure!! For such a short book, this really packs such a thought provoking punch! There is so much here to discuss.

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  6. Great review! This was also not on my required reading at school- though it really should have been! I really agree that this is a must read! It’s really important to understand the roots of totalitarianism- and this is the best tool for that!!

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  7. I have never read either this or 1984. But yes, I have heard time and again of the Orwellian themes. That quote about equality is so bang on. Nice, concise review. Hope I will also read this one day.

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, you’ll definitely want to read this and 1984 one day. 1984 is so eerie and disturbing, especially when you see how we live today and when the book was written. Both are classics that everyone should read at some point! I probably won’t ever read 1984 again, as that book was seriously disturbing, but Animal Farm is one that I’ll read again at some point.

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