As I’ve done with some other audiobook reviews, I would like to state that the following review is strictly for the audiobook version of Lord of the Flies by William Golding. The version of the audiobook that I listened to was read by the author, William Golding, and featured an author preface and notes from the author at the conclusion of the story.
I decided to read Lord of the Flies because it’s mentioned within so many YA novels as being a classic novel that high school students are required to read in school and subsequently is weaved into the plot line of whatever contemporary YA book that mentions it. The most recent book that actually caused me to read the book was Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King, which references Lord of the Flies plot points frequently and forced me to realize that this was a significant part of popular culture that I knew nothing about.
After being on the wait list for the physical book at my library for months, I decided to download the audiobook. The version I downloaded from my library is narrated by the author and very much feels like a grandfather reading you a nighttime tale before you drift to sleep… except the concepts within this novel are much, much darker. The main narrative illustrates what could hypothetically happen if a bunch of young boys are left alone on an island to fend for themselves, surrender to their own human nature, and together enact a survival of the fittest mentality.
The novel has been criticized for solely featuring young boys within the work and lacking any female characters. In the foreword by Golding, he states that girls and women aren’t included in the book because Golding himself has only ever been a boy and thus felt like he couldn’t begin to represent the experience of a girl; this foreword automatically put a poor taste in my mouth before I even ventured into the actual story. Because the book only featured young boys and because the author is not a trained narrator, it was completely impossible to mentally separate any of the dialogue of the characters from each other and to form a mental map of the different qualities of these characters. Each of the characters was narrated with the same voice and the dialogue frequently jumped around without being followed by stating which character said certain things. Thus, I feel like I wasn’t able to really follow the flow of the story or become invested in any of the characters, other than the legendary Piggy. Even the darkest points of the novel weren’t associated with much feeling from me as a reader because of how the audiobook was narrated.
Of the classics that are frequently assigned to most Americans in high school, this is not one that I recommend to you if you’re able to choose whether or not you read this book and I definitely do not recommend it in the format with the narrator reading the audiobook.
What are your favorite classics that were assigned reads for you while you were in school? I recently acquired To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which I somehow haven’t read yet and am very much looking forward to starting it soon!
Author/Narrator: Sir William Golding web