Book Review: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

A group of boys find themselves adrift on an island. They wake up with no idea where they are. They must make rules to survive. These rules will be the breaking of them. Lord of the Flies by William Golding explores an incredibly realistic “simulation” if you will, of what would happen if the aforementioned were to happen.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding book reviewWritten in the 1950s, Lord of the Flies has become a classic for some as one of the great books throughout history that explores how humans would react if placed on an island by themselves and forced to survive.

Plot – 4/5

A group of boys (notably no women) of different ages, all pre-adult, land on an island after a crash. What begins as a jolly holiday with the boys enjoying their time begins to become a bit more serious when they realise they need to survive. A leader needs to be chosen, that leader needs to make rules and everyone else needs to agree that this leader and these rules are the way things should be on the island. What ensues is a wonderful exploration in the psyche of a group of young men. Who’s the alpha male? Who decided he should be the leader? These questions start to get asked and things begin to slip between the group.

It’s a book that isn’t overly easy to read. There is some bullying involved, there are some moments that some may even deem a little disturbing. However, I felt these added to the realism of the interactions between the boys. This, as a result, built up a more realistic set of circumstances.

Characters – 4.5/5

There are a fair few characters to get your head around in this book. Without giving away spoilers, the main two are Ralf and Piggy who you meet early on and then other boys are slowly introduced who become big figures within the group. There’s fantastic chemistry between the different characters and Golding had to write different characters so that they brought different ideas and suggestions to the story. In doing this, he created bonds, he created characters you love and some you are forced to dislike.

There’s not a vast amount more to say about the characters. None of them stands out as my favourite, however, I understand all of their roles within the novel. You’ve got the butt of the joke, the smart one, the erratic one, the emotional one. They’re all there and Golding integrates them all very intelligently into the storyline.

Lord of the Flies summary – 4/5

Lord of the Flies is a fascinating read that if you don’t look too deeply into it is a gripping story in its own right. But when you then start to think of what Golding has done in giving us a very respectable tale of the likely actions and turmoil that the same situation would bring in real life.

I was deciding between three or four stars for this review as it wasn’t a book I found myself instantly buzzed about after reading it as I do with a lot of my five stars. However, I can respect the diverse character personalities and the fact Golding tackles some of the darker aspects that would arise from such a situation.

Read more of my Classic book reviews here.

Four out of five star rating

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