Parklands-Turner Teen Readers' Corner - YA Book Club Recommendations

Parklands-Turner Library

Parklands-Turner Teen Readers' Corner - YA Book Club Recommendations

Brave New World

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Teen Book Review by
Temitope Adeoye
Brave New World is unlike any other book.  It is true that it is a dystopian future novel, but somehow, it has other appeals, as well.  When reading this novel, I got a strange feeling, almost everything in it disturbed me—from the hyper organization and uniformity of all aspects of everyday life to the breeding of babies.  One concept that frequently gets referenced is the practice of brainwashing people in their sleep.  I found it preposterous and inhumane that the government would so heavily control what people think and feel, but this idea made me think about my own life.  In a way, we all are influenced everyday by similar, though more subtle, procedures.  Our parents, teachers, religion and social structures are what ultimately dictate who we are. We think and we pretend that we have free will and that we make our own choices and have our own opinions.  Yet if we were raised in different circumstances, we would be so different.

Dystopian future novels such as Brave New World are supposed to be exaggerated versions of the way our lives are going.  Here, Aldous Huxley shows the dangers of uniformity and being heavily influenced.  There is really no way to prevent influencing and being influenced, though.  Humans are “programmed” to learn from others and from their experiences.  A notion that machines and efficiency should hold the highest values, rather than integrity and human interactions.  Something else that has made me afraid is a homogenized world—a world where everything on the market is the same.  In a society such as Britain or America where what we buy defines us so much, a homogenized world presents a scary uniformity.  Change is good, and we all should be moving toward becoming discerning individuals.

I think this book is really interesting as it explores the dangers of technology and what misuse of technology can do to a whole world.  Indeed, Huxley is trying to convey the idea that technology does not have the power to save us.  While this theme makes the novel controversial, it also makes it a classic that we can relate to, especially in today’s world where high-tech computers, music players, and gaming consoles that have become such a natural part of our lives also seem close to ruling our lives.

In addition to uniformity, Brave New World also explores the idea of just how far science can go without being immoral.  Would we really want to live in a world where eugenics rule?  Where despite everyone being equal on the surface, underneath bubbles the idea of inequality and unfairness?  Not for me, thanks!  This novel presents the contradictory idea of a Utopia, a perfect world, yet the word “utopia” is derived from 2 Greek words meaning “good place” and “no place.”  This double meaning suggests that the perfect world is impossible.

It is true that this book is a mature read, and I must confess that some parts I did not understand.  However, the novel’s central message has left a deep impression on me.  It’s certainly a book I won’t forget.  I would recommend it to readers aged 14 and over because the ideas presented are complex.  Plus, Huxley writes in a very adult-like manner, using complicated, convoluted sentences and academic vocabulary.  Overall though, Brave New World is a scary depiction of what soon could be our future, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this well-written and thought-provoking novel.
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley