Friday, August 8, 2014

Review Me Twice: Anthem by Ayn Rand

You might have been able to tell by my choice of topic yesterday that I thought this book was a little didactic. You'd be right, but since it's such a short book, it wasn't a huge problem. (No matter how over-the-top didactic you are, if the story is under 100 pages, it can't get too bad. Now that I've invited that upon myself, feel free to send me examples that disprove this assertion.)

I quite liked this book. I never thought I'd like Ayn Rand, but I had only really known about The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, which are both bricks and get teased a lot elsewhere in pop culture.

My friend Missi suggested that I read this book, and called it a great introduction to Ayn Rand's work, and I agree with that.

I like the way the story is told, from the protagonist's first-person perspective, with all the ideas of his society ingrained into him. For example: in this society, the pronouns "I" and "me" have disappeared. Everything is about "we" and "us" because each person's entire life has to be about serving their fellow man. So even though our protagonist is breaking away from this society and learning how to be an individual, he's still using the language of it because it's what he knows.

I like the idea of this book: The world has thrown itself back into the dark ages.  Everything is for the good of humanity and the candle is the pinnacle of technology.  But you know what?  I wasn't a fan.  Like, at all.

First of all, I couldn't handle the third person that the main character spoke in.  I get the point: "I" and "me" and such similar pronouns had been eliminated from the language.  There was no individuality because everything had to be for the good of the whole, or it was evil.  If you weren't doing it for your fellow man, to further society, then you were sinning.

But honestly, it drove me crazy to continue to read it and, by the time he had switched over to the "I" and "me" pronouns, I was kind of over the whole thing.

Alex did make a fair point that, while incredibly didactic, it was incredibly short, so it didn't get on your nerves as much as it could have.  But at the same time, if I had to go read something like Atlas Shrugged, I feel like her didacticism would make me want to shoot myself.  So, I probably am never going to pick up her large works.

However, that being said, she does have a certain type of flair to her work, and her writing isn't BAD, per se, just not something I particularly enjoy.

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