"...God had given him a tail to keep the flies off, but that he would sooner have had no tail and no flies." - Animal Farm, George Orwell.
Imagine this - a farm full of animals and not just talking animals from a child's storybook; no, animals capable of complex actions and thoughts, like a running a farm. That is the story of Animal Farm.
The animals of Manor Farm, fed up with the brutality and insufficient rations provided by Mr. Jones decide to revolt and take charge of the farm. Led by the pigs, the animals learn to read and write (in varying degrees), to look after the fields, the dairy, to construct a windmill and run a farm.
The brilliance of Animal Farm is that is can be read and enjoyed by readers of all ages, from 10 year old kids to my 75 year old grandfather, and each reader will draw their own meaning. For a child, it will be the story of some animals while an adult will in all likelihood, connect the dots.
Animal Farm draws very obvious parallels among the animals and humans. When pigs, the leaders of the farm start becoming dictators, as reader one is left frustrated at the ignorance of the other animals and yet when applied to the world we will live in, majority of us are like the animals.
Some of the major characters in the book are Napoleon (shrewd and calculating), Snowball (idealistic and persuasive), Boxer (loyal to a fault), Squealer (the sidekick), Clover (pushover), and Benjamin (smart but passive). A testament to George Orwell's writing would be that each of these characters were distinct individuals.
Initially the pace of the book is a bit slow, and quite straight forward but soon the story picks up. While the beginning is intriguing as you reach the end, you are mostly left frustrated, helpless and a little bit sad. The ending is slightly abrupt and gives you the sense that the story isn't over yet, which leaves you wanting more.
One of the major reasons I picked up this book was that I knew it was a short novel and a quick read. A good reader could probably finish it within half a day. I have mentioned that children can read it so naturally, the language is easy and to the point.
Animal Farm is a classic read, and is here to stay for a very long time.