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Words of a Bibliophile

"It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away." —Bee Gees

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

I found several errors in this book, I don't know if it's just this 2012 edition or not. This book has been around for over 60 years, I can't be the only one who realized this... right?

First of all, the blurb at the back cover tells the story out of order. It could be a problem with this edition only.

"But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television. When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life."

This made me think that Mildred attempts suicide later in the story after Montag gets to know Clarisse more, but in fact Mildred tries to kill herself immediately after Montag met Clarisse for the first time. The blurb also implied that Montag begins to hide books after Clarisse disappears, but later it's revealed that he's been collecting books secretly all this time. The inaccuracies got me confused.

There are other errors in the book. It is described that houses don't have porches anymore because the government doesn't want people sitting around and thinking. But on one scene Montag gets out of the house and steps out of "the porch".

Lastly, in the first part it was said there are four firemen other than Montag. Only three are ever mentioned: Beatty, Stoneman and Black. But subsequently in the third part when Beatty and Montag are speaking, they mention "the two other firemen". Then a few pages later there are "three other firemen". Which one is correct?

Regarding the story itself, I thought the ideas presented are very thought-provoking and relevant in today's world where people prefer to watch TV and movies or surf the internet rather than read books. But the book is so short and rather feels like a quick, shortened version of a larger tale, much like the condensed fiction in Montag's universe. There are many things that I felt could have been expanded more.

What is most fascinating for me (and a little scary) is how in this universe the government only banned books because people stopped reading them in the first place. It is readers or the absence of them, after all, that will decide whether books will become extinct, and I found this idea very profound.