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Lord Of The Flies Book Review

Updated on October 29, 2013

A Controversial and Frightening but Brilliant Novel

Lord of the Flies was compulsory reading for me during early high school and I found it highly disturbing. It was one of those frightening but mesmerizing reads where you don't like what is happening but have to turn the page to see what happens next. It is a book you don't forget.

It was the first novel of British author William Golding and tells the tale of a group of schoolboys whose plane crashes on a deserted island, with no adult survivors. At first they work as a team doing their best to survive, finding food, building shelters and keeping a signal fire going so they can be rescued.

Order begins to break down as some of the boys would rather play, swim and hunt for wild pigs than do "work." The natural leader Ralph , and his chubby pal Piggy (whose thick glasses are used to light fires) are soon challenged by the leader of the pig hunters, Jack.

The story masterfully leads you through the downward slide from well-behaved school children into savages, as the situation deteriorates and the children begin to hunt each other. It is an expertly crafted novel of the bestial and destructive instincts that are just below the surface, and a compelling but disturbing read.

Image credit: Lord of the Flies on Amazon

Lord Of The Flies Book on Amazon

The book was originally published in 1953, so there are lots of different versions with different covers. It is available in paperback, hardback and as a Kindle edition.

Reading Poll

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Movie Versions

The novel has been made into a film twice. The 1963 version by Peter Brook is far more faithful to the book than the later 1990 version by Harry Hook. There was also a 1976 Filipino version.

Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies

Amazon instant video of the 1990 movie version starring Balthazar Getty, Chris Furrh and Danuel Pipoly.

Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies

Amazon instant video of the 1963 movie version starring James Aubrey, Tom Chapin, Hugh Edwards and Roger Elwin.

Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies

DVD of the 1990 movie version starring Balthazar Getty, Chris Furrh and Danuel Pipoly.

Lord of the Flies (The Criterion Collection)
Lord of the Flies (The Criterion Collection)

DVD of the 1963 movie version starring James Aubrey, Tom Chapin, Hugh Edwards and Roger Elwin.

Lord of the Flies (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Lord of the Flies (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Blu-ray of the 1963 movie version starring James Aubrey, Tom Chapin, Hugh Edwards and Roger Elwin.


Looking for more William Golding books? - Check these out or browse using the search box!

Let me know how you feel about this book - did you find it disturbing too?

Reader feedback

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    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      It was everything you said - disturbing, frightening and brilliant. Pinned to my book board

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      It changed people's view of childhood forever and is a great study of order, leadership, frailty and group psychology. Great book.

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      I did find it disturbing. I had to read it in school, but can't bring myself to read it again.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This was our featured book read for my GCE O Level English Literature back in 1966! A timeless and bruilliant novel that still seems pereectly relevant today.

    • KathyZ1 profile image


      5 years ago

      Useful lens. Thanks for your shaing.

    • clevergirlname profile image


      5 years ago

      Not only did I read this book but I often use it during arguments even today. To me it's only disturbing in that it is the epitome of human behavior when it comes down to it; we're selfish and we'll do what we have to to get what we want until it's all a big game. Welcome to being a mammal!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      5 years ago from Canada

      I'm not sure whether or not I have read this book though it does seem familiar.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      yes I remember that book too as required reading in High School. It still makes me cringe.....

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This book wins my vote for the creepy book quest.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      5 years ago from Colorado

      I don't recall ever reading this book. You would think it would have been on my high school required reading list. I'm pretty sure I would remember a book like this. As you mention, the truly compelling element of this type of story is the realization that any one of us could fall prey to baser instincts put in an extreme survival scenario. That is very frightening.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I remember reading it in school...not for the faint of heart

    • David3142 profile image


      5 years ago from West Midlands, England

      I read this book at school and loved it. I once heard of an English teacher who, for their first lesson on this, deliberately turned up 20 minutes late to the lesson, then arrived to a classroom in chaos as the kids had unwittingly started their own path towards the Lord of the Flies situation. Brilliant!

    • DownToEarthLiving profile image


      5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Definitely a scary scenario. I read it in high school, as well, and found it to be believable, unfortunately.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      A very disturbing book, and frighteningly believable!


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