Yes, there hasn't been a review in a long while...I apologise. I completely forgot while I was writing that I had a plethora of books to review.
Here's the blurby blurb!
"William Golding's compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first, it seems as though it's all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious & life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic & death. As ordinary standards of behavior collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket & homework & adventure stories—& another world is revealed beneath, primitive & terrible. Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was 1st published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought & literature. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a classic."
This book is one of the few classics that I've read, and I can clearly see why it's a classic. So come with me to a stranded island to face our inner demons!
*Caution: Spoilers ahead. Please put on your safety equipment of -
1. Acquiring said book
2. Reading said book
3. Coming back to said reviewed book
- Spoilers contained within will ruin the experience of reading this fantastic book for you. Beware*
In a rough summary; Ralph, along with a group of young english boys, are marooned on a deserted island during an unspecified nuclear war. A choir group of boys, and other students who have never met before, struggle to establish a civilisation of their own with what knowledge they have. Slowly, they descend into madness and succumb to a savage and murderous nature.
When I had ordered it from The Book Depository (Go check it out if you live in Australia. It has free shipping and multiple offers of covers for the book that you want!) there were so many covers to choose from. There were the classical ones with a simplistic nature and vintage style, or the newer designs by fans which were artsy and symbolic in nature. It took me a few hours because I was torn between two of the newer covers. I finally decided when I realised that one of them was an educational style of it, so I picked the Centenary Cover which the introduction by Stephen King (The one illustrated above) It is a paperback, and is 225 pages long. I absolutely love this cover. It's the one that if you've never ever heard of Lord of the Flies and anything inside of it, it's a beautiful cover on its own accord, but after reading it it'd take on a whole other meaning. I also have a weird obsession with white (NOT. BEIGE.) book covers and spines. The introduction by Stephen King also really set a dark tone for the love of dystopian type novels. As he reminisced about the first time he read it at a child, it got me all hyped and prepared to begin on this journey with Ralph and the other boys.
Though I still am bitter every time I see the Educational Edition because it's beyond beautiful and symbolic. Oh, that symbolism.
Ralph - Ralph is the character that you'd probably most identify with (Unless you're either the Moral Compass or Pyscho Path Who Just Needs An Excuse To Kill Something). He is this awfully flawed character that is so real, his back-and-forth nature is believable for someone in his situation being thrown into a Leadership role at the beginning. He doesn't know all the right things to do, or say. He bumbles, loses track of his words, and sometimes is peer-pressured into doing something that doesn't seem that harmless. He tries his best to bring the group together, to create order and to actually do something that would help them be seen and saved. He isn't the Bad Guy, but neither is he an entirely Good Guy.
One thing that I absolutely loved about how Ralph was written was the fact that he didn't act like the MarySue type of Protagonists that are being written now a days. The ones that try to be the hero, to do everything right and in the situations where everyone is making fun of one person, they are the one that goes over and talks with them when nobody else would. We all want to be that person, but let's face it, not a lot of us are. That's why they are written into books; to help inspire us to aim for that. I adored the fact that Ralph was like your average day boy. When Piggy shared his embarrassing nickname, Ralph pointed at him and started chanting, 'Piggy! Piggy!' because that's what children do. He was written in such a way that there were times I got so mad at him for brushing aside Piggy (I heart you, Piggy) and joining the others in ignoring him because that's what everyone else was doing. But then Ralph had times where I could actually visualise myself in his situation, and realising that I'd probably have reacted the same way. The realistic way. Ralph's journey throughout the book is one that leads him from entering the Island a childish boy, to now a boy with lost innocence.
Piggy - Piggy, straight up, was my favourite character. No doubt. His under-dog, "My Ass-ma!", and eagerness to use the Conch sold me on his cuteness. Ugh. I wanted to just hug him and give him a mug of hot chocolate, telling him that everything would be okay and that everybody else was just a big ole meanie. For introverts (Like myself) I feel like you'd relate more to Piggy than any other characters in this book.
Oh sweet, sweet, Piggy. Whenever there is a Moral Compass character, there will be affection in my books. I love the Moral Compass characters, but they always die. Always. Now, (So many spoilers right now...so if you didn't read the tag line earlier about spoilers, then I am so sorry right now) Piggy's death didn't have QUITE the impact that I would have liked - Mara spoiled it for me. Innocently done, like when someone yells out "SNAPE DIES IN THE END!" whenever Harry Potter is mentioned, she did not realise that I had indeed not read or even seen the movie about Lord of the Flies. I took it in good spirit, but I'm sure I would have been groaning and messaging Mara with my face in the pillow of Sadness after his death if it wasn't spoiled. *Death Glares Mara*
Jack and his obsession with killing pigs though really was disturbing to me. For the first time, I actually said "What the heck..." out loud while reading certain parts where they kill the pigs (If you've read it, I'm sure you know what I mean). The only thing that rivals that level of disturbedness is The Walking Dead, but that's for a reason.
Simon - Oh man....Poor poor Simon. He was a poor victim in this whole situation. I was just as confused as he was when he started hallucinating the Talking Pig's Head, then when I realised what was happening, I just felt so bad for him. Poor, poor Simon.
Conch: The Conch was their symbol of cultured society, their civil and social norms. I love the Conch. I was absolutely smashed (Get it? Yes. Yes, you did) when the Conch got destroyed. Once the Conch was destroyed, everything went up in a blaze of chaos and destruction. The Conch, in itself, is a character that even had meaning (I love meanings within meanings that have meanings that mean something...I love it) by itself. Whenever I see large shells, I always refer it to the Amazing Conch.
Things I liked:
- I really loved the way that it was written. It was done in such a way that, while written so simply, it packed a punch behind the words and made you sit there contemplating life and all its craziness. It flowed like poetry at times, and I found myself lulling over the words for a while after having finished it.
- The characters were fleshed out and alive to me. I hated Jack with a passion, and tried to empathise from his point but struggled. I adored Piggy and was so broken hearted knowing that he'd still die whether or not I adored him. I related to Ralph, who was torn between this group as their Leader and trying to make the right choices with what he had. There were no characters that felt like they were there for a simple plot device then Bon Voyage, they were gone. They all played a really important part in the crumbling of their group.
- The Conch. Enough said.
- How it ended. With how chaotic everything was getting with Ralph being chased down by Jack's Pack (Heh heh) to kill him, and the forest burning down from fire, it seemed that the only solution to the ending was either they all died from not being found and eventually turning on each other, which would be highly depressive and it would have been even more on the Banned List of Books at Schools, or Adults stepping in. I remarked to myself how brilliantly it was done in how the boys returned so quickly back to being these crying, snotty, unknowing little boys again once they saw the Soldier. In the end, that's what they were. They weren't soldiers, or survivors, they were simply young boys.
- The build up. The tension and suspense were rising to a stressful climactic confrontation at the end, which I love in books. I was the girl who read R.L Stine's Goosebumps Series as a kid, so I live for suspense and cliff-hangers.
Things I did not like:
- Sometimes the writing for the imagery drolled on and I found myself not being able to imagine what he was trying to explain. It's most likely on my part, but I found it very distracting when he kept describing the colour of the giant rock platforms on the highest point of the mountain.
- The multiple confrontations between Jack and Ralph. They follow such as -
I'm all for the books that delve deeper into Humanity, and what those rules mean if we're put in a situation where we don't have to follow them. What happens to life's Good Guys, Bad Guys, and the Gray Guys? Does one emerge victorious, or do they all bring down each other?
I'd highly recommend this book; it took me on a journey of self-discovery of what I would be like in that situation, and to realise that given the right circumstance, we can all resort back to savagery.
I did actually cry a little bit...it was like one or two tears. Manly tears, of course! So that just makes this book even better!
I'm rating this an 8.5 :)
My favourite quotes are as follows -
“He found himself understanding the wearisomeness of this life, where every path was an improvisation and a considerable part of one's waking life was spent watching one's feet.”
― William Golding, Lord of the Flies
And who could forget William Golding's all famous quote of -
“I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been."
[Listening Library audio recording of Lord of the Flies (read by the author): Author's Introduction]”
― William Golding, Lord of the Flies