I still don't know what inspired me to take this book home from the library that day back when I was 16- up until then the only "grown up" literature I had read had been formulaic historical romances of the Catherine Cookson variety.
I can now credit this book with opening the door to a whole different world of books from what I was used to- books that demanded me to THINK.
And, being only 16, and not reading this book as part of my English class but rather just for myself, I was swept away by it.
Then, a couple of years ago, I got hold of a copy and read it again, curious if it would still seem so mind-blowing (I remember re-reading my beloved Narnia stories as an adult and getting the shock of my life).
And I can say that, half a life later, this book remains one of the best books I have ever read. Why?
I am still amazed at the author's imagination. How did she manage to describe the menace of a totalitarian regime so well? Science Fiction often dates quickly, seeming at best naive decades after it was written. And for me, reading this book 20-odd years after it was written, in this older and wiser post-9/11 world, certain aspects of the book took on new meaning (religious fundamental regime, strict rules about women's dress, football stadium executions).
It may not be a perfect book, but I think it is worth reading for its ideas (and warnings). And all that aside, it's a gripping read!