A user submission, sent via our online form
My first encounter with Orwell was in 1981, as a ten year old schoolboy. I remember my teacher reading out the first chapter of '1984' in class, as an example of 'grown up' writing that some of us might like to try, and the bit about the clocks striking thirteen stuck in my mind.
Intrigued, I borrowed my father's Penguin paperback copy of the book, and started to read it. My mother thought it was unsuitable and that I was too young to appreciate it, which I realise now was probably true.
I remember the abiding sense of horror I felt at the idea of a world completely cut off from its own past; its inhabitants totally subject to the will of an almighty dictator. I somehow got the idea that the Thought Police could actually read one's thoughts, which was also a terrifying idea.
I also began to worry that the whole prophesy might come true in the following three years, until my sister (who had also read the book) pointed out that in the book, Big Brother had arisen in the 1960s. This reassured me a little, but I read on with great trepidation...