Today, I am sharing my review of Lord of the Flies by William Golding with you all.
When a plane crashes on a remote island, a small group of schoolboys are the sole survivors. From the prophetic Simon and virtuous Ralph to the lovable Piggy and brutish Jack, each of the boys attempts to establish control as the reality – and brutal savagery – of their situation sets in.
The boys’ struggle to find a way of existing in a community with no fixed boundaries invites readers to evaluate the concepts involved in social and political constructs and moral frameworks. Ideas of community, leadership, and the rule of law are called into question as the reader has to consider who has a right to power, why, and what the consequences of the acquisition of power may be. Often compared to Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies also represents a coming-of-age story of innocence lost.
I first read Lord of the Flies back in high school (about 12 years ago), and I didn’t really enjoy it back then. I put it down to the fact that I didn’t particularly enjoy any of my school reading experiences, mainly because we would have to read it as a class, and the teacher would always make different people read each chapter out loud to the class… I can’t take a book in properly when it is being read to me like that! So, I decided to give it a second chance, and re-read it now at my own pace, but I have to admit, I still didn’t enjoy it as much as everyone else seems to.
From the very beginning, the only character I actually liked was Piggy, and I instantly felt sorry for him. The rest of the boys were horrible bullies, and the way they treated Piggy was absolutely disgusting. If they hadn’t all been so power hungry, they would have realised that actually, Piggy was the only one using his brain, and despite his too kind personality, he would have been the best leader.
Ralph initially comes across as arrogant, and not a particularly good friend. and WHY does he keep standing on his head? As the story continues, he doesn’t exactly get much better. He is only nice to Piggy when he has no-one else, and he is desperate to be in charge of everyone.
Don’t even get me started on Jack. He was by far the worst of the bunch, the biggest bully of them all, and all he wanted was to cause trouble and to fight. He’s so entitled, and he throws his weight around like he owns the place, but in reality he hasn’t got a clue what he is doing or what he is talking about.
Often, these types of characters make a story interesting, but not with this book. I hated most of the characters, which made me a lot less interested in the story. Other than Piggy, Ralph, and Jack, none of the other characters really stood out to me, and it was actually difficult to differentiate between them a lot of the time.
Throughout the story, you can feel the tension building between the boys, and you can tell that the island is taking its toll on all of them. They are beginning to lose their minds, they’re turning against each other, and they’re turning violent. They are all so obsessed with power, and are willing to do anything it takes to get it, but none of them have any idea how to survive on the island, and certainly no idea how to remain sane. It was interesting to see the deterioration of the characters, and their minds, and how they resorted to savagery. I’m not sure if it is scientifically accurate as to how the brain would really deteriorate in those circumstances, but it certainly makes for a good story.
I have to admit, that at times I found it a little boring, and slightly slow. I felt like all I was reading was them sat on the beach half the time, and it just didn’t have enough action for me. Also, it is supposed to represent a coming-of-age story of innocence lost, but let’s be honest, a lot of the boys weren’t exactly innocent to begin with. No, they weren’t savages, but they were bullies, and just generally horrible children.
Overall, I do think that Lord of the Flies is a good story, but it certainly didn’t have any wow factor for me. It isn’t something I would want to reread again, and I’m also not sure that I would consider it to be good enough to be a modern classic, but everyone has a different opinion, and I know that a lot of people absolutely love this book. Personally, it wasn’t really for me.
I give Lord of the Flies a 3 star rating.