Book Review: Lord of The Flies by William Golding

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This book had a lot of reviews a few months ago, with most readers praising it, so I decided to find out what the hype was about.

Purely by coincidence, The Lord of The Flies is my third consecutive British book this year. Written by William Golding in 1954, I am surprised at how old it is and don’t understand why there’s the recent hype.

The story is about a group of young schoolboys trapped on a deserted island after a plane crash. These children, none older than 12 are forced to think and survive on their own without any adult supervision.

At first, their new-found freedom is celebrated, they can do just about anything they want. It’s all fun and games. They come up with their own society, grouped in “Liluns” age (6 and below) and “Biguns” (7 and above). They even manage to elect a leader Ralph (the intellectual Democrat) over Jack (the savage dictator).

But a truly terrifying reign begins when Jack forms his own tribe, backed by his ability to hunt and provide meat.  Ralph is left a leader with no followers except for his quick-thinking friend Piggy. Law and order collapses and a boy is brutally murder by Jack’s tribe.

Piggy maintains their innocence in his denial and claims the murder was an accident. Ralph knows better. Soon enough Piggy is murdered too and Ralph, the only boy with any sanity is left alone, unwanted and hunted to the death by his adversary.

Related: Book Review: This is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay

This is not a really big book but it took me forever to go through it all. I expected an adventure book but the plot just dragged. The atmosphere was stalled and confusing, trying to imagine the vast landscape of the island. I ploughed on because they were innocent kids. I had so many urgent questions, many with respect to their safety. “Where are the adults?” “How did over 30 kids survive a crash and not one adult made it?”. These were never answered.

Believe it or not, things started to pick up at the tail end of the book, so if you do decide to read this, be patient. This book will stun you. Fear, betrayal and murder, all happen in really quick succession, and after struggling with picking up this book for weeks, I suddenly couldn’t put it down. I was in the forest, with leaves and thorns scraping my skin as I ran, desperately searching for better hiding places, and praying that I would somehow outsmart the conniving blood-thirsty Jack and stab him in the stomach with my spear. Yes, I became a savage too, losing civil reasoning. Scared of a monster, we all became monsters.

At this point, I realized the story wasn’t just about lost boys. Lost boys don’t just murder each other this way. Turns out it’s a parable or an allegory about the tragic end of innocence eclipsed by evil desires and a thirst for power and respect.

This book left a nut loose in my brain and a bad taste in my mouth. It is one of those books that end on the worst cliff-hanger ever, so you don’t even get an ending that resolves all your concerns. I hate that we are never told Piggy’s real name. He was the best kid on that island, treated in the worst way because of his weight. As a parable, I feel like the author was communicating the opinion that looks matter to us as human-beings more than it is really worth.

Regardless, the fat kid was right all along and the smoke had saved them, only he wasn’t there to see it.  Deciphering this parable, perhaps bad things need to happen for good things to eventually come?

Related: Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I don’t like this book. You’ll probably feel this way too if innocent children metamorphosed into murderous savages before your eyes. I prefer an optimistic perspective on life, society and people, and enjoy books that promote this point of view. This story suggests an extremely pessimistic perspective, something twisted and insidious about human nature, implying that we are inherently evil.

Going forward, I will make an effort to read synopsis about books before I dive in. I usually don’t because I like to be surprised but after this book, I’m reevaluating my standards.

Summarily, It’s one of those books you either really like or completely detest depending on your disposition. It’s a book about children not a book or children.

Was it a good read? Somewhat.
Will I read it again? Never!

Do I recommend this book? Most certainly not! We are what we consume, what we think. Life is hard enough without walking around with this negative frame of mind.


Have you read Book Review: Lord of The Flies by William Golding? Let me know what you think in the comments!
As always, thank you for reading!

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8 replies

  1. I have heard this book being mentioned a couple of times though I didn’t really know what it is about. I don’t think it would be for me though because it sounds really dark. The slow start would be a struggle for me too though I am glad the story picks up after a while. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think it is as pessimistic as such and it is more a critique on society as a whole. Not just the loss of innocence but the high-pressure we face once we’re adults. There is both good and evil in all of us, and it is such a dog eat dog world that we can choose evil. It doesn’t mean that we are inherently evil but our choices are pressured by circumstances sometimes. Great point about appearance, it rightly points out that looks sometimes do matter in real life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting perspective Sophia. I have to agree that sometimes we do choose evil and this book may be a fair assessment of both good and bad forces at work. Thank you for reading and commenting Sophie!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I read this book in high school,thanks to my literature class. I enjoyed the book because the author is a great story teller.But my mind couldn’t get over the fact that these were just kids. As human beings we have to make tough decisions everyday to either spread evil or good because we are capable of both.

    Liked by 1 person

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