Is 12.5 too young to read 1984 by George Orwell?

(27 Posts)
ObscuredByClouds Tue 06-Nov-12 23:12:52

Weird question, I know, but not sure where else to put this! My DD is a real bookworm and tonight picked 1984 off our bookshelf and we read the first chapter together. She's desperate to carry on with the book but there are some rather disturbing bits in it.

I've always encouraged her to read whatever she likes, and for enjoyment, but feel a little ambivalent about her choice. Would it be ok do you think? She's adamant she wants to carry on reading it!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 08-Nov-12 09:18:30

I read it when I was 11 - just tell her everyone skips the 'book' bits and it's fine!

iknowwho Thu 08-Nov-12 09:17:34

I would keep Kafka out of reach through, very dreary reading for a teenager!

Kafka is dreary for anyone, never mind teenagers!

Monty27 Thu 08-Nov-12 03:12:14

Blimey! I read it when I was 16 and don't remember the sex bits either. Read Animal Farm at about 14 at school, loved it, read Down and Out in Paris in London later, he is just a great writer smile

Not too young, it was my favourite book aged 13-16 - continued to study it for a long time. And I still love dystopia novels/films smile

MortimersRaven Thu 08-Nov-12 01:47:36

I hope she enjoys it!

whois Wed 07-Nov-12 22:37:11

Not too young at all

ProfYaffle Wed 07-Nov-12 16:24:33

Oh, Plague Dogs, I'd forgotten that book, I was quite obsessed with it for a while.

ObscuredByClouds Wed 07-Nov-12 16:21:25

Thank you, one and all. I've told her she's to go ahead and read it and she's very happy, has taken it to school with her.

I do remember reading 1984, Animal Farm, Plague Dogs etc at a not dissimilar age but like the rest of you, did not remember the sex bits! Very odd!

Yes, will keep the Kafka hidden for now, although it does have its place too!

ProfYaffle Wed 07-Nov-12 16:18:50

I read 1984 aged 12, I remember because it was 1984! I don't think I'm scarred other than not being a fan of dystopia novels.

lottiegarbanzo Wed 07-Nov-12 16:14:32

Also, I think if she doesn't like it she'll stop. Best not to make a big deal of it as she may feel a need to prove something to you. I remember at a similar age, having enjoyed Watership Down and the grittier Plague Dogs, starting to read Shardik by the same author. Dreary more than anything but I think there was sex. A couple of people commented that it mightn't be suitable, so, instead of dropping it through boredom, I felt compelled to plough on to prove what an advanced reader I was.

lottiegarbanzo Wed 07-Nov-12 16:08:42

We read Animal Farm at school age 13, I then read 1984 myself and got a lot out of it.

I agree that children / teens read selectively, skating over bits that aren't familiar or relevant to them. Their emotional response changes as they mature.

I remember reading Papillon at 12, then again at 15 [Warning: horrible image alert]. The first time I had quite a black and white sense of injustice and this justifying revenge. The second time I was more ambivalent and quite horrified by a scene in which the escaped P took revenge on a prison guard by tying him to a tree (in S American jungle), cutting off his eyelids so his eyes would be scorched by the sun and leaving him to be eaten alive by ants. I hadn't particularly focused on that episode the first time.

colditz Wed 07-Nov-12 15:56:11

I can't remember there being a sex scene in 1984, and we read it in year eight. I must have not understood it.

Frontpaw Wed 07-Nov-12 15:52:25

I read it about that age, and Animal Farm a bit younger. I liked them. I would keep Kafka out of reach through, very dreary reading for a teenager!

LineRunner Wed 07-Nov-12 15:52:02

That seems very true - I barely recall the sex in 1984. I must have simply 'read over it'.

claraschu Wed 07-Nov-12 15:50:19

I think kids often don't notice the things they aren't ready to understand. That's how I was anyway. I was extremely upset by Animal Farm (because I loved animals so much, and could understand what was happening), but didn't notice the sex in 1984 until I reread it in college.

MortimersRaven Wed 07-Nov-12 03:55:31

From what I remember the sex is a bit graphic?

But I used to read well above my age range and TBH the age-innapropriate stuff kind of got brushed over, it was only when I re-read things as an adult I realised their full significance.

I think if she wants to read it, go for it! But be ready to discuss things if she has questions.

sashh Wed 07-Nov-12 03:47:34

I read it at about 11, and I'd seen the black and white film before that.

So there is a bit of sex and when he remebers the rats it's a bit .............uhg. But should be OK.

Growlithe Tue 06-Nov-12 23:30:47

I can remember reading it for A Level English at 16 and being a bit disturbed. For A Level you are studying it in depth as opposed to just reading it I suppose, and at 16 I may have been a bit more emotionally ready to take the concepts on board.

That said, I'm 44 now (I actually studied it in 1984) and am often surprised by the speed at which children move on these days!

ObscuredByClouds Tue 06-Nov-12 23:22:47

Thanks for the replies.

I think I was a little taken back by Orwell's reference to the protagonist fantasising about beating a woman whilst climaxing in the first chapter, whilst in the throes of 'Two Minutes of Hate'; I don't remember that part from when I read it at what I recall being a similar age.

NotMostPeople Tue 06-Nov-12 23:19:11

Encourage it.

LineRunner Tue 06-Nov-12 23:17:39

I read it at 13. I think my DS read it and Animal Farm last year (at 13) as well. <vague parenting>

There's the Room 101 scene but it's not too gruesome, is it?

The concept of Doublethink is a great one for a young teenager to read about, in the context of its original source, I think.

SwedishEdith Tue 06-Nov-12 23:17:21

Let her read it, definitely. We did Animal Farm and 1984 in 3rd year (Yr 9) so pretty much a similar age

DS2 is the same age and is reading as part of his English class at school (yr8). I'm pretty sure I was the same age. It'll be fine I'm sure smile

thenightsky Tue 06-Nov-12 23:15:05

I think I was 13 when I read it and enjoyed it.

Llareggub Tue 06-Nov-12 23:14:28

I mean, of course she should read it if she wants to.

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