Book Review: Lord of the Flies


“Piggy, what’s wrong… I mean… what makes things break up like they do?” 

I’m not sure if you could tell, but I’ve been really into reading lately. Just yesterday I finished William Golding’s nightmarish novel, Lord of the Flies. Read on for my thoughts, and who I would cast for each role if Baz Luhrmann would respond to my e-mails and make it his next film. (As it stands, he’s busy with this one that everyone’s raving about, and I can’t wait either.)


If you’re anything like me, you probably read the spark notes version of Lord of the Flies in high school, then promptly, upon entering college, wished you hadn’t.

I’ve had this book on my shelf for years, hoping to one day pick it up again. Inside were my falsified “annotations” that my teacher would check every day as a homework grade. “Animals will be a problem–foreshadowing” one reads. 
Little did high-school me know that the animals foreshadowed in those first few pages were not the pigs that they’d hunt, but the savage beasts the stranded boys themselves would soon morph into.
When a group of British boys is stranded on an uninhabited island, things start out rather well as they vote on a chief, start a signal fire, and play on the beaches. But as the nights get darker and civilization seems further away, their need for rescue deepens. They don’t just need rescue from the island–they need rescue from themselves. 
As a writer, I’ve realized lately that one area I need to improve on is my ability to describe sensations: sight, sound, smells, textures, voices, unspoken attitudes… it’s difficult for me to do. Golding, however, is a master. With craft, he paints the image of Piggy’s rotund figure and scrunched nose, holding up his precious spectacles. I felt the itch, along with the boys, of hair growing longer and dirtier. I saw the pink, creamy, fragile conch, and smelled the stench of blood dripping from a hog’s head, standing on the end of a savages’ spear.
The brutal reality of humanity comes across in this novel unlike any other. And don’t tell me it’s like the Hunger Games, because Golding gets his message across in one book, not three, and the boys in this novel are not coerced into their treachery, but discover violence exists in their own DNA. 
Golding squashes any formerly-held belief that the heart of man is inherently good. The nightmare of the boys’ ordeal begs the question: what would I be like in that circumstance? Would I join the hunters, or fight for rescue?
I hope a good filmmaker will attempt to make this movie into a film someday soon. 
Here’s who I’d cast if I were in charge: 


For the role of Piggy: Jared Gilman, from the upcoming Wes Anderson movie Moonrise Kingdom,  (the film also stars Bill Murray and Bruce Willis and I can’t wait to see it)
For the role of Jack: Colin Ford, best known for his appearance in the movies Push and We Bought a Zoo, it’s probably time for Colin to break out a bit and play the bad guy.  He’s like, 14, but I think he could do it.
For the role of Ralph: Callan McAullife, who starred in I am Number Four, but more notably, will be playing young Jay Gatsby in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming rendition of the Great American Novel. He seems like he can play the tough but heartfelt character of Ralph.

Who knows? Maybe my make believe movie might just happen. Maybe since Baz already knows Callan, they can really make my movie dreams come true.

What do you think?  Is this a book you would re-read? Would you see the movie? Who would you cast in these roles?
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Comments

  1. Nathan! good to hear from you… and thanks for the suggestion. Is it dark and dreary? I might need to read something light before tackling the darkness of the human heart again… but I promise i'll read it eventually!

  2. interesting post, though I'm not really one to start naming child actors and such. I would definitely recommend reading Koushun Takami's 'Battle Royale' – not a summary or a synopsis, but just buy it and read it. Try casting that book! Seriously though, I'm very interested to see what you think about it.

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