Completed February 13, 2014

Lord of the Flies - Edmund L. Epstein, William Golding

This is a good book.  It is not, however, a great book.  It aspires to be.  It even purports to be.  It does not quite get there.


i was very impressed with this book when I read it in high school.  But that was 25 years ago, and reading it now, I don't find it as compelling.  I have read so many books since Lord of the Flies.  Darker books.  More disturbing books.  Books that forced me to sit up and take notice.  In that sense, LOTF disappointed me.


i am a discerning reader now. I want to know more.  How and why are the boys on the island? The book alludes to the reasons, but does not explore them.  Who were they before they got here?  We understand too little about them.  What happens to them after the final scene?  I'd like to know.


Will human beings do anything to win?  Yes, they will.  Will kids born of privilege do whatever it takes to remain at the top of the pecking order?  Sometimes that's all they have - "their place in life".  Will the disadvantaged, the different and the disengaged have to fight twice as hard to be noticed and recognized for who they are?  Sure.  But there's beauty in the struggle, even though the climb is arduous and long.  Golding doesn't tell us that, though.  He tells us that life's a bitch and then...well, you know the rest.  Gee, thanks.


Ironically, reality TV took these themes to another level, and made the journey believable and the travelers identifiable.  Golding could have learned a lot from Survivor.  I learned far too little from LOTF - and that's a pity.