Ray Bradbury says it himself in the introduction to my 50th anniversary copy - 'What new is to be said about Fahrenheit 451?' Everything's been said, and then some. So probably, by the time you get to this review, you'll know the drill already.
Guy Montag is a Fireman - he makes a living out of burning books, which are banned. But he's drawn to literature, and he begins to suspect that books aren't as scary or awful as his dystopian society makes out. So he challenges the ideas of the world that he's in, and the result leaves Montag running for his life.
Bibliophile that I've always been, I really should have read this book ten years ago. But at the age of fifteen, I don't think I would have believed that in ten years time book shops would close, sales of actual bound books would slow, and people would read on little gadgets. Speculation in the world of books is going to be of interest for some time, and I look forward to reflecting on Fahrenheit 451 ten years from now, just to see how much closer we are.
Bradbury's style is perhaps not for everyone; it's inconsistent, but in consistence with Montag. The narration is very close to Montag's voice and, towards the end, his movements. There's sometimes a lot of words that don't say a lot of things, but it's so pretty to read that it's hardly an issue. Bradbury has a curious way of putting words together that though sometimes it seems weird, it does make sense. On page 25, Bradbury puts together two words that never in my whole reading life have I ever seen together, and the effect was just stunning: 'liquid melancholy'. The words sound just delicious in the mouth. Mmm.
Fahrenheit 451 is one of those books that often ends up in discussion, and everyone has something to contribute (even myself, and I'd never read it!). It's worth the while for all the speculation, but it was a fun read too, and that was the point.