Story is set in a future dystopian where books are against the law. Valo Bliss is a man and is married to estranged wife, Mildred. Bliss walks home one day and runs into a girl names, Carisse They ask each other and Clarisse asks him a harmless question, "Are you happy?"
Bliss comes home and finds Mildred unconscious in their bed. He finds an empty pill bottle and calls medics. They pump her stomach and revive her. The next day she is in denial that she tried to kill herself, (very common in this society).
The firestation get a call in and go to the house that was reported. They confiscated all the books they found, which was a lot. So they decided to burn them all inside the house, the old lady that owned them to kill herself along with her books. Bliss witnesses her burn herself alive for books.
Bliss soons starts collecting books to read and understand why books are illegal and why would the old woman kill herself for them. After weeks, the firehouse gets a report and head to the house.
The firemen start gathering all the books, even Bliss He is still shocked that he was caught because of Mildred betrayed him and turned him in. Captain Beatty was mocking him in a way and antagonizing which lead to Bliss burning him alive. He went on the run and joined Faber, an old professor who is against the government's wishes.
Bliss escapes the manhunt and goes into the woods to find a secret group of people. These people all worship books and believe in a better future. They shelter Bliss and show their lives in the woods. Soon the city destroys itself and the group makes plans to rebuild the city into a book involved society.