Book Review: The Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The Lord of the Flies
by William Golding

Publication date: December 1997 (first published September 17th 1954)
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Pages: 225


Summary:

William Golding’s compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At 1st, 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 ^ 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.

Source: Goodreads


Thoughts:

I’ve had ‘Lord of the Flies’ on my shelf for years. Compulsory reading for GCSE, I’ve pulled this book apart for the tiniest of details, for its inferred meaning and for obscure features of creative writing. Yet something about all of that study meant I never truly got to enjoy this book as a book.

So I’ve given it another go, as an adult, to just read for pleasure. My 16 year old self may be surprised to hear I rather enjoyed it.

When a group of British school children find their plane has crashed on an uninhabited island, they start off by electing a chief and building a community. This little society of boys slowly begins to break down as tensions rise over their priorities. Full of realistic characters, this book appears timeless. Despite being written in 1954, the same story could be set in present day with very minimal change to the text.

The events that unravel on the island and disturbing, but nothing seems out of place. The plot is well placed and the scenes well written. There were some parts where I felt like I was drifting off, but on the whole the tension between these boys kept me engaged.

Overall rating: I feel like there is a lot of content here I was never able to appreciate as a teenager and I know that this book is generally disliked by those who it has been forced upon. Perhaps it’s because I was able to read at my own pace (3 days, not 3 months) or maybe because I wasn’t being made to read aloud to the class in a funny accent or perhaps forcing students to analyse a book’s every word just is not the way to go about reading…


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