Welcome to my blog. If you're addicted to books, like I am, then you've come to the right place. I mostly write about books and my experiences reading them. These are very personal book reviews. (If you can even call them book reviews...) I’m a true believer that none of us lives in a vacuum. When you read a book, watch a movie, listen to a song, etc., you absorb that art form into your life experience, and it changes you. But you also change it, because no two people see anything the same way. The way I interpret a novel may be totally different from the way you will. It’s still the same novel, but the meaning for each of us is unique. Once you express that meaning, it changes the art. So these posts are about how these books fit into my life. I’d love to hear how they fit into yours. Please make comment and share your experience.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Review of Atonement by Ian McEwan

When my co-workers’ kids were going off to college, I watched them struggle with empty nest syndrome.  As a parent, I can only imagine this inevitability when I look at my grade-school age kids.  But I know it’s out there and I know how hard it will be for me when the time comes.   My own memories of going off to college, however, had no recollection of my parents’ struggles with this.  So I asked my mom—was it hard for you?  She told me she cried the whole way home after they dropped me off.  Of course it was hard, but she said nothing of it to me at the time.  And I was too self-absorbed at the time to notice what my actions were doing to everyone around me.   

If you love a good love story, Atonement by Ian McEwan will piss you off.  There is a love story in here—but it gets destroyed and trampled on almost before it begins by powers out of its control—the imagination, selfishness and malice of a 13 year old girl.  This is the story of a self-absorbed adolescent who misinterprets what she sees between her sister and a family friend.  Seeking attention and drama—she fabricates a story accusing him of a crime he didn’t commit.   The lie takes on a life of its own and alters the lives of all characters forever.  It’s an upsetting, disturbing and sad story, but not a bad book.  The writing style and perspectives of different characters are unique and beautiful and I loved the way some passages were written deliberately vague, forcing me to re-read them over again to fully appreciate their beauty.  And McEwan writes a love scene that is one of the best I’ve ever read by a male author.  The novel does have some rather odd structure, however, and that, along with the sad premise, got a lot of criticism from the other BABBs. 

The offending character does offer “atonement” for her crimes, however, in her own way.  That brings the story full-circle and offers the reader, as well as her sister and her sister’s lover a better ending than real life provided. 

Parting note—Robbie—a solid 9.25 on the HTAF scale.  And that one scene could maybe even push him to a 10.01—but don’t tell Adam.  Well, maybe somebody should tell Adam…  Any volunteers?  I am so going to get in trouble for this…

1 comment:

  1. Having only seen previews for the movie and heard rumblings about the plot, I thought it was a story that would piss me off. Now that it's been confirmed, I feel no need to read it for myself. While I don't need fairy tale endings in every book, I try to avoid books that piss me off. I'll give Adam a head's up :)