It’s been a bit longer than I would have wanted to bring a review, but here’s my first summer reading book review.
I give this book 3/5 stars.
I had a love-hate relationship with this book. I was very interested in this book because Zamyatin is dystopian author that predates the likes of Aldous Huxley, Ray Bradbury, and George Orwell by a couple of decades. This particular book was on sale on audible about a year ago, and I thought I’d love it because of my literary appreciation of these other 3 authors.
The story is set up as a diary of D-503, a mathematical engineer in a society that has done away with all of the subjective and individualistic aspects of society. Except for sex, because it’s obvious that sex is still necessary, so they’re given people a system of applying to have sex with one another (this seems like unnecessary information, but it is important to the plot). There are lots of rules, and D-503 is a rule follower…until he meets I-330, who is a scoff-law and a rebel. He falls in love with her and becomes a part of a revolution to overthrow the system.
There are several elements that are clearly seen in the works of later dystopian authors. For example, both Ayn Rand and George Orwell use the diary format to disclose dissenting views of an individual within a collectivist society. Likewise, Orwell and Huxley have the elements of the significance of the control of sexuality to a “utopian” society, though in different ways.” In all of these general dystopian elements, I enjoyed We.
What I did not enjoy was how the book ended. No spoilers here, but it felt like the story began to fall apart 2/3 of the way through the story. I did not understand why certain happened, and that made me very frustrated when the end of the story came around. Perhaps I need to revisit the last third of the book to get a clarify, but the ending left such an odd taste in my brain that I just don’t feel like doing that any time soon.
Another thing I found to be disturbing and unnecessary at times was the way sexuality was handled. It was an important element in the story, but it was uncomfortable to read most of the time. Then there was what seemed to me like a completely unnecessary section of the book where a major catastrophe happens, and so all of the people decide that the best thing they could be doing at the moment is to have sex with each other out in public. It made no sense and it took away from the story.
As this was my first summer read, I was disappointed. Last summer, 50% of my summer reads were disappointing. I’m hoping to get better reads this summer.
What are you reading this summer? Have you read this one? Thoughts?