Fiction, Goodreads, Young Adult

Book #3: Lord of the Flies

I don’t know how I managed to miss reading Lord of the Flies by William Golding in high school.  Isn’t it what most high schoolers read at some point and then speak only with hatred for the rest of their lives?  My thirteen-year-old daughter had heard of the urban myth about this particular book and wanted to read it, to see if it was as awful as predicted.  She asked me to read it as well, then stirred up interest in my other teenage daughters, so we all read it.  The reactions were pretty similar: disgust and abhorrence.

This wasn’t enough for me, though, to react viscerally to the book.  I wanted to know more about why Golding wrote it at all and what he was trying to accomplish.  Learning about his experiences in WWII and his feelings about human nature gave the book a different light, knowing it was meant to be an allegory to how we hunt and kill each other during times of war.  That made sense to me.

Then one evening I was talking to Caren about this book and I mentioned how even though it was a book with a message, I still have a hard time with the idea that children could abandon all moral compasses and act like animals.  Caren reminded me of the book, Left to Tell by  Immaculée Ilibagiza and Steve Erwin, and the brutality that happened between neighbors and friends.  It was a sobering thought and reminded me that the fictional, horrific things that happened on the island of Lord of the Flies are actually based on reality.

Goodreads Rating: 2 stars because I would never willingly re-read it, but if I do, I hope to do so with the perspective of making sure this kind of brutality never happens in my realm of influence.



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3 responses to "Book #3: Lord of the Flies". Comments are closed for this post.
  • Caren says:

    Ha ha! That’s hilarious that you had a Lord of the Flies fest at your house! I haven’t read it since I was a teenager, so maybe my reaction would be different now, but I definitely didn’t hate it then. It was, together with Of Mice and Men, one of my favorites. (Does that mean I had a dark soul as a teenager? Possibly.) The psychological effects of the mob mentality fascinated me, even as the story itself was disturbing. Ironically, studying it in a classroom didn’t stop many of my peers from adopting a similar mob mentality not more than a year or two later in a series of events that rocked our small community and threatened my family directly.

    Apparently some people aren’t as changed by their experiences with literature as others.

  • Jenny says:

    I did read Of Mice and Men in high school and loved it, but I love all Steinbeck I’ve read. I could see why on the back of Lord of the Flies they quoted Suzanne Collins proclaiming her love of the book. If you’re interested in the dark side of human nature, it makes sense to study it.

  • […] it with my children and having this new tool to talk about books.  When my girls and I read Lord of the Flies, I asked them what kind of book it was.  One said broken and another said bent and then we […]