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{November 17, 2019}   {Review} Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

From Goodreads: From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, comes an unforgettable edge-of-your-seat mystery that is at once heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous about what it means to be human.

Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.

Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.

Never Let Me Go breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel. It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date.

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With the amount of rave reviews this novel has, I really thought I was going to love it… gosh, was I dissappointed. I was so bored reading this novel that I nearly put it down multiple times, but decided to continue on to see, just to see, if some big revelation came and my opinion would change. It didn’t, though. From the get go, it’s pretty obvious who these characters are, what Hailsham is, and that the great “edge-of-your-seat mystery” touted by the back cover and publishing company is non-existent. I don’t even know that there’s a real climax in this book. What I found, instead, is that this novel is a reminisce of growing up at the school, as told by the now grown-up Kathy, and her revelations are all rather tepid.

I think what really got me is that, once I knew what the “mystery” was in this novel, my irritation came from the fact that no one in the story cares about it. No one laments, no one fights back… in fact, most are just so accepting and don’t ask any questions, just moving through the motions that I failed to see how this was realistic in any way, but perhaps this is where the critical acclaim stems from–a novel of this magnitude that doesn’t follow reader expectations of human reactions from the characters… characters that are just awful to each other, from Ruth’s constant vindictivness to Kathy’s rudeness, perhaps shows the true hollowness that people can decend into. Perhaps it’s the eeriness and non-humaness of it that makes people find it so wonderful? I can actually see that as being a truth in a way, but… I hated the characters and the fact that really, nothing happens in this novel, and my inability to make any connections with any character definitely put a damper on my ability to enjoy it. 

Literally, the characters just accept everything and never fuss or contemplate how or why, or if it’s legal or why it’s legal, and we’re given so little background information about the “real world” surrounding the school in order to make Hailsham have any merit, so… I feel like I just read a whole book about nothing but reminiscing, and I did not care for it. I wonder if the movie is any better… but I honestly have no desire to see it, so, I have to chalk it all up to this novel just not being for me. One star.

I borrowed the audible version of this novel from the library.

Did you know that you can read this novel for FREE with a FREE TRIAL of Audible for 30 days? Try it today!

Kindle | Audible | Paperback | Hardcover

 



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