Book #138 – Lord of the Flies

7624I had intended on posting every day in December so that I could review at least *most* of the books I read this year, but oh dear. Life seems to be getting away from me, and I’m drowning in footnotes, so that might not happen.
In any case, today’s book review is a middle-school classic of island life and, uh, terror.
Yesterday I reviewed the only book I’ve ever seen Alex read, and today is another book that I know he’s read – if only because it’s filled with his pencil marks from studying it in school (way back in the dark ages, of course, because he’s ancient.) I also can’t find a picture of the cover of it I actually have, so you’re getting the goodreads default. This review is a shambles already.

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

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.

I read this book over the course of a few days in early November (despite having had it since, oh, 2010, I would think) and, to be honest, I don’t think I missed out on much by waiting so many years for it.
I realise that Golding’s book is a classic, but having been exposed to references to it for so long, half of the tension was gone before I even opened the first page – I knew what was going to happen, essentially, and so I was looking for something more than just a few twists to draw me in.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find it. The characters were generally one-dimensional, the action was predictable and at times even a little dull, and the tension which was supposed to ratchet up as the book reached its conclusion was, for me, sadly lacking. I think if I’d read this when I was much younger, or before I’d been exposed to a million references about how putting a bunch of young boys on an island won’t end well, I would’ve gotten far more enjoyment out of it – it’s a classic for a reason, and the writing at times is sublime, I will admit that.
Not a terrible book, but not a show-stopper either.

A solid three stars
***

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