Home > Book Reviews > Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Just completed Lord of the Flies by William Golding which I vaguely remember reading when I was in high school.  My recollection was that I had found the book interesting, but not wildly so, and that I was a bit startled by the idea that supposedly civilized human beings would devolve into an anarchist, thrill-for-the moment state.

Now in my early 40s, I’m not quite so naive.

The theme itself was still fascinating.  I thought perhaps the execution was a bit heavy-handed, though.  Golding tries too hard to include symbols and metaphors rather than allowing them to more naturally and more subtly unfold.

I found the reading to be rather a difficult slog, perhaps due to my own reading laziness.  Too much description for me.  I also had a hard time trying to determine who was speaking in much of the dialogue.

While I’ll never forget the last two or three pages, I found it strange that I completely mis-remember most of the events in the last half of the book.  I didn’t recall Simon as a character at all and I seemed to have merged Simon’s and Piggy’s fate in my memory.

One poignant comment was made at the end of the novel where the naval officer mistakes the paint and the hunt for the more idyllic life in The Coral Island, a 19th Century novel by R.M. Ballantyne, which I loved as a kid.  (Ah, the breadfruit tree!)

I know. Jolly good show. Like The Coral Island.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

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  1. Sarah
    August 31, 2010 at 2:16 am

    You know, after reading (well, listening to) Neptune's Children (same theme), I checked this one out of the library for car listening, only to discover it was cassettes. I never read it in high school (um, I was into seeing how high I could keep my grades without doing the assigned reading), so I kind of fell like I "should" read it now. But not if it sucks…

    • michaelldennis
      August 31, 2010 at 4:12 am

      I don’t want to give the impression that it was a bad book. For me, it’s like watching the movies ET or Ghost. I really only need to see them once to get the image in my mind.

      The book is definitely worth reading. Worse case: it’s so short that even if you decide it’s not for you, it’s over before you know it.

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