Review: Animal Farm

Animal Farm
Animal Farm by George Orwell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

OK, let me state the obvious first. We all know that this is not really about animals. It’s a very clear and direct allegory of the Soviet Union.

The good points of the story is that it is simple, precise and easy to understand by anyone. But if you know your history, beware that boredom may lie ahead: you will definitely not learn anything new from this book. The satire is funny on occasions, and could make you laugh a couple of times.

I found only two points where the allegory sounded unconvincing to me. I was a bit puzzled by Orwell’s apparent harsh judgement for all who left post-revolution Russia, suggesting they did so only to keep their comfortable life and privileges (like the vain mare Mollie). In fact, there were intellectuals who had very obvious and legitimate reasons to escape their homeland and continue voicing their dissent from abroad.

I was also puzzled by the fact that the pigs’ superior intelligence was never disputed by the narrator. In the book they are portrayed as actually being able to read, write and plan better than any other animal. I do not really think that that the same is always valid for their human counterparts.

My favorite part? Of course, it is the final “commandment” of animalism (“All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”). This phrase is pure genius, and is an apt quote to wittily reply to many hypocritical phrases in politics.

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