The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Favourite Quote: “As a bride it been she who had “dragged” Benjamin to dances and dinners – now conditions were reversed. She went out socially with him, but without enthusiasm, devoured already by that eternal inertia which comes to live with each of us one day and stays with us to the end.”

Review: A (very) short story of a tale which documents the struggles that would come if someone were to age backwards. Ostracized numerous times by those who he should trust the most this a sad tale of prejudices that does not dwell on details as the story progresses at rapid pace. Far less developed than the film version (which will take you longer to watch than read this novel) the beauty of this short story is in its brevity. Perhaps a reflection of the comparatively small number of positive experiences Benjamin has with his reverse aging compared with the more tragic beginning and end to his life.  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley

Favourite Quote: “Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.”

Review: A hard hitting piece of prose which brings to the table the debate of free will vs-controlled happiness. You will certainly never question the phrase “ignorance is bliss” after reading this novel. My favourite parts of the novel are the penultimate chapters where discussion between the controllers and “the savage” take place and show just how aware of the benefits and drawbacks that come with contrasting lives are beautifully spoken. From the beginning this novel will keep you wanting more as the start where you are given a glimpse of the early measures put in place to establish and sustain this dystopian future are made real in a frightening imaginable way. A good long weekend read where you have the time to ponder the themes and can’t help but make comparisons to novels such as Orwell’s 1984.

Rating: 4 out of 5.