ALL ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS
My dad got me this book when I was in seventh grade, a time I was knee-deep in Frederick Forsyth and Jack Higgins and the like. I saw the title Animal Farm, and was like, Dad, seriously, I'm way out of my kiddo reading phase! He was like, it's 150 pages, just read it and we'll talk about it later. I reluctantly did, and am I not glad I did!
Inspired by the boar Old Major's words, the animals of Manor Farm drive out the alcoholic Mr. Jones and rename their farm Animal Farm. The Pigs, with Napoleon and Snowball in charge, speak of setting up an environment where all animals are equal, and the other animals, notably the horses Boxer and Clover loyally do as they say. But slowly Paradise turns ugly, when Napoleon drives Snowball out on charges of spying for the humans, the dogs come in and life becomes harder for everyone except the pigs.
Animal Farm is a searing look at Stalinist Russia. Orwell wrote this novel at a time when the world was courting USSR, and had great difficulty publishing his anti-Soviet satire. After I was told that this novel symbolised the events in the Stalin era, I could identify a few of the characters: Napoleon was Stalin, Snowball was Trotsky, Boxer was the common man. This book marked the beginning of my interest in world politics and actually got me started on Russian literature (though this novel was written by an Englishman). Animal Farm has all the hallmarks of a classic: simple writing, thought-provoking storyline inspiring a gamut of emotions, and a cast of characters that stays with you a long time after you've turned the last page. A lump forms in my throat every time I read about Boxer's death, Napoleon's actions will cause even the mildest of people to fume with rage. They say that good things often come in small packages, and this slim book is among the best you can get.