Title: Animal Farm
Author: George Orwell
Page Count: 141
Publisher: Signet Classics
Original Publication Date: 1945
Genre(s): Classics, Fiction, Political
Mr. Jones runs—in the loosest sense—Manor Farm. Too bad he’s a drunk who mistreats his animals. One night, Jones gets so drunk he forgets to feed the animals that day, and is so hungover the next he neglects them again. This is the final straw. The animals start an uprising and overthrow Jones, running him off his own farm. From that day forward, it is now Animal Farm. The animals swear to never treat one another like Jones treated them. But history often repeats itself, and two groups inevitably form: the leaders, and the followers.
If you know me, you know I hate politics. And I somehow managed to make it to 22 years old without having read a George Orwell novel. I did not read Animal Farm because I thought I’d enjoy it—quite the contrary, actually. I knew I wouldn’t like it, but felt the need to have read it. I wish the novel would have surprised me, but it actually bored me to death.
For those of you who don’t know what this novel is about, 1) You clearly have been living under a rock, but 2) I’ll tell you a little about the story without spoiling anything, even though it’s almost 80 years old.
Orwell wrote Animal Farm as an allegory of the Russian Revolution and the Stalin era of the Soviet Union. (Orwell was not a Stalin supporter, if you couldn’t have guessed.) But the novel could easily be an allegory for any revolution. I’m not going to go too deep into the story because it’s already slow and boring enough, I wouldn’t want to ruin all the fun for you. Basically, the pigs become the leaders and intellectuals, aaaaaand the rest of the animals are just kind of following them blindly. The book, told in third-person POV, follows the progression (and regression) of Animal Farm. It’s not an exciting story, but it is definitely smart and political.
This isn’t a bad novel, it’s just not the kind of story I like to read. So, though I give it a low rating, that’s just because I found the story boring, slow, and uninteresting. Despite my opinions, it’s still a smart book. I can see why it’s a classic, even though it makes me never want to read another Orwell book again. I will read 1984, though. But that’s because I like dystopians.
If you somehow have managed to avoid Animal Farm for all these years like I had, I’ll tell you this: if you aren’t interested in politics or history or talking animals, you aren’t missing much. But if you read it, you can tell people honestly, “Hey. I’ve read Animal Farm.”