Book Review

#ReadThemAllThon Book Review: Anthem by Ayn Rand

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Rating: Three out of five stars

23352296Ayn Rand is not an author up my alley. Our belief systems are pretty distant from the other. But if I want to be a well-rounded reader, I need to pick up books from time to time consisting of ideas with which I may not agree with.

As for the story, I found it to be highly engaging and entertaining. Honestly, I loved the world building. I loved the concept of the sin of preference, and I can appreciate the lack of the word “I” as a behind-the-scenes societal building. This original dystopian novella kept me interested in the thoughts of Equality 7-2521. I personally would not thrive in a world where writing is considered a sin. I’m happy to have been an observer where this book is concerned – and the reader is indeed the observer in this work.

My only complaint about the novella is the pretentious notion of the individual as solely enlightened. This refers to the thought process of “I have thoughts, they are deep thoughts. I can only hear my own deep thoughts so therefore, I am the only individual capable of having deep thoughts because look at the rest of the people-sheep. I cannot hear their thoughts; therefore, they are not capable of deep thoughts such as mine.” I remember thinking like this in my teen years, but this thought process needs to eventually grow up and understand the epiphany that the self is not the only individual with thoughts. People have thoughts! People, other than the self, think! Equality 7-2521 does not grasp this concept due to Rand’s own thought processes, thus Equality 7-2521/Prometheus suffers from special snowflake syndrome.

As to this novella as anti-communist propaganda, I believe in moderation. Let’s have enough democracy to have a functioning governments of freedoms; while providing the basic rights of the community. Too much of either is dangerous, which I think is part of what Rand is getting at. To make this point, however, she created selfish and vain characters.

I could appreciate the foil of the Adam and Eve motif; while Adam and Eve started out in Paradise with God, named, sinned, and found themselves wandering a forest upon being kicked out; Equality 7-2521/Prometheus and Liberty 5-3000/Gaea ran away from their oppressive “paradise” thus committing their sin, ventured through the forest, only to find a paradise of their own – and a God of their own – in the form of the word “I.” Thus, they were named, sealing the opposition to the Adam and Eve story. The whole reason their society developed was because the word “I” was seen as the root of all evil; by the end, Equality 7-2521/Prometheus sees the word “We” as the root of all evil. This demonstrates the strength of words as they relate to society.

I enjoyed the phrase “I love you” as written without the use of the word “I”:

“We are one…alone…and only…and we love you who are one…alone…and only.”

If the last part of the novella determined the name of the piece, the book would be named “Prequel to a Dictator.” Prometheus’ thought process on what a paradise should be sounds like the start of a community that would eventually become its own dictatorship. While the ending was most likely supposed to sound inspiring, it sounded as if it foreshadowed its own ruin, stemming from the selfish ideals of Prometheus.

Overall, I liked the story. The characters, in trying to show the freedom in the self, came across as selfish and vain. I wouldn’t want to live in the society they want to create, nor the society they came from. Like I’ve said about previous books: I’m glad to have read it, but I’m also glad to put it away and never look at it again. The book can be summarized by its last word: Ego.

Review also on Goodreads.
Picture from Goodreads.

I read this novella in the form of a Librivox audiobook, which is listed on Goodreads as 12 pages. I don’t understand the reasoning behind this page count, but I’m rolling with it, and am glad to accept 1 CP. Add the CP counts for uncounted tweets, finishing the book, and posting a review, and my Leafeon is now at 425 CP. Here is my updated Trainer Card:

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