Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Remember in my last post how I mentioned that I’ll look over the book summary once when I first purchase the book and then never look at it again?  Well, that came back to bite me this time because I started reading this book and got really freakin’ confused.

Never Let Me Go” is told in the first person perspective of Kathy.  The book actually starts with Kathy as an adult, reflecting back on her childhood and teen years and her relationships.  She is raised in a boarding school in the English countryside and from a young age, she bonds with two other students – Ruth and Tommy.  Kathy is usually the one who stands back and observes, while Ruth is a little more on the outgoing side.  Tommy is known to have a horrible temper and is teased by many of his classmates.  Kathy befriends him because she realizes there is more to Tommy underneath the bursts of anger and frustration.

At their school, Hailsham, the students are taught normal school subjects but are also pushed to be creative and athletic.  The students know that they are special from others outside of Hailsham, but they aren’t exactly sure how since they are totally isolated.  As teens, more pieces start to fall into place about what makes Hailsham students different and how they can cope in the outside world once they leave the school.  At this time, Ruth and Tommy start to date, leaving Kathy as the third wheel, but she still acts as a confidant to both.  Together, they go through the journey to adulthood while piecing together parts of their past that, at the time, were things that happened in passing that only now start to make sense and will determine the rest of their lives.

Okay, like I said above, this book TOTALLY confused the heck out of me.  I actually had to look up some spoilers because I thought I was just an idiot and didn’t understand what was going on.  If you want to know the real story, you need to go out and read this book yourself.  It would give way too much away if I told you, and what’s the fun in that?

Although the book was confusing and maybe a little bit “too deep” for me (I don’t like to think too much), I did like it, but didn’t love it.  It was something different for me.  I liked that it was told from Kathy’s perspective, but I found it really confusing when Kathy would mention something, then say that she has to tell another story first, then will go off track again before she finally gets back to the story she originally wanted to tell.  By the time that whole song and dance was done, I usually forgot what the original story was.

This weekend when I was in the middle of this book, I was watching E! News and something was mentioned about Keira Knightley’s new movie being shot called “Never Let Me Go“, so I thought to myself, “Hmm, wonder if it’s the same as this book…” and turns out, it is.  The movie starring Keira Knightley as Ruth and Carey Mulligan as Kathy and some dude I don’t know as Tommy is apparently out in theaters in limited release.  (Pssst: Pittsburghers – it’s showing at the Cinemagic Manor Theater in Squirrel Hill and the Waterfront.)  I have a feeling that this story in movie format will be even more confusing as the book, but maybe it will be told in a different order.  Don’t know.  I’ll have to check it out when it gets to Netflix.

Has anyone else read this or seen the movie yet?  Thoughts?

  • http://albamaria30.wordpress.com red pen mama

    *SPOILER ALERT*

    I think this book fails because while it is beautifully written, it doesn’t stir up any outrage for its characters. They are all very passive and accepting of their fates. If we are supposed to gasp in horror at the idea that people are cloned and their organs are harvested from them… well, then Ishiguro chooses exactly the wrong approach. I read critical reviews everywhere about how moving this book was, and how people were shaken by the ending. But I just finished it last night, and I was like, Really? I wonder what’s on TV.

    I may blog about this one a little bit. I am having a disappointing run of books lately.

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