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Customer Review

9 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dissappointing!, 14 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Coming Up for Air (Twentieth Century Classics) (Paperback)
Perhaps written for an audience 20-30 years my senior, (I am 17) I found this book more of a chore than a pleasure. Having read many of Orwell's novels and a large amount of his journalistic work I was expecting something entirely different. Though this book is well written and, at times quite funny, I found it on the whole quite boring! If you have read this book and share my sentiments however, do not be put off- Orwell is an excellent writer and his books are amongst the best!
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Mar 2009 12:27:07 GMT
Charlotte says:
I have to say that I am considerably older than you-48-and I quite agree with you.It is not a matter of the target audience-I just simply found it a rather depressing, unengaging book.Orwell's essays are infinitely better-and there is so much ranting about society in this book that it feels like an essay, not a novel.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Jun 2010 10:50:03 BDT
C. Cooper says:
Saying you like Orwell but singling out one of his books as "depressing" is like saying you like The Ramones, but not the songs that only use three chords.

Posted on 30 Sep 2012 09:14:33 BDT
Simon says:
There is a depressing edge to it, but isn't that the case with most of his books? keep the aspidistra flying is another of my favourite Orwell novels, but my word it's depressing, as is 1984. It's fair enough that you didn't like it, I read it when I was 20 and got a lot out of it.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Oct 2012 10:46:51 BDT
viaroute42 says:
I don't think this is a good analogy. One doesn't have to like everything a person produces.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Nov 2012 23:39:53 GMT
Am I the only person these days who is not incapable of spelling the word "disappointing?" It is a good word, useful in this instance for describing your spelling and grammatical abilities. Disappointing indeed!

Posted on 3 Jan 2014 10:55:48 GMT
Cole Davis says:
I do see your point. When I read this as a young man, I didn't find it all that engaging and until I read it recently could only remember something about the question of how big were the carp. As an older man, I do see more in the book (although I personally think that Orwell's essays, as well as Animal Farm and 1984, are his strong points).

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Aug 2014 17:57:18 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 18 Aug 2014 18:07:18 BDT]

Posted on 18 Aug 2014 18:24:43 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Jan 2016 08:57:17 GMT
As it happens, I too was 17 when I first read this novel - I came to it via '1984', 'Animal Farm' and 'Keep the Aspidistra Flying' as well as 'The Road to Wigan Pier' and 'Homage to Catalonia' - but that was back in 1964. I was living in a drearily respectable semi-detached outer suburb of Birmingham; the post-war revival was finally really taking hold, and the sort of speculative housing that 'Coming up for Air' rails against was kicking off again in the area where I lived - I saw fields and ponds, where I had played as a boy, bulldozed and lost forever. The only thing we didn't have, mercifully, was the shadow of a massively destructive war hanging over us. Maybe that is why I found the novel so gripping. No, it isn't a 'story' with exciting things happening; it is a lament for a lost world, exchanged for an inferior one, which is likely, very soon to be blown apart along with many of its citizens. In 1964, the evidence of the destruction are many areas of the city had only very recently been cleared, so it wasn't hard to imagine.
When he wrote it, Orwell was recovering (only partially, as it turned out) from the physical and mental wounds of his time in the Spanish Civil War, which he clearly understood to be merely the overture to the main event.
So, yes, the novel is depressing - sometimes that is appropriate, I think. However, it is also deeply compassionate and even funny in places; it also has moments of poignant beauty. It is a book that I love, as you can probably tell.
I notice that it is 14 years since you posted your review, so you will now be 31. Sometime, it may be interesting for you to give the book another go - the experience may only confirm your original view, of course, but you may, as I hope, be surprised (and pleasantly so (in a grim, grey way!))

Posted on 8 Jan 2016 11:31:05 GMT
By way of belated reply to Robin Catbush's question in this comments section: namely, 'Am I the only person these days who is not incapable of spelling the word "disappointing?"', my answer is simply 'No', and although the time period covered by Robin's conception of "these days" is unclear, I am confident his definition must span at least a decade, as his comment was posted some 12 years or more since the (in my opinion underrated) - original opinion by the 17 year old Mr. Customer, and although the memory of my spelling ability in respect to particular words from that time is likewise increasingly clouded, I can pretty confidently publicly state that I can at least on this day spell the questioned word - without simply using my browser's copy and paste capability of course - and to demonstrate this I'll ask Robin whether I'm the only one within, let's say, the last 3 years or so, who doesn't find it disappointing to not miss the opportunity to not use a double negative unnecessarily?
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