Friday, April 1, 2011

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

As a child, Kathy—now thirty-one years old—lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory.

And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed--even comforted--by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham's nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about their childhood—and about their lives now

A tale of deceptive simplicity, Never Let Me Go slowly reveals an extraordinary emotional depth and resonance-and takes its place among Kazuo Ishiguro's finest work (Summary taken from goodreads).
  Never Let Me Go had me laughing at times and crying at others. It was an extremely touching as well as moving piece. My friend had read this book, so I asked her what is was about. In response, she simply said, “It’s about special kids, who go to a special school, because in the future they do special things.” Well, it’s not the most exciting description, but in a way, it sums up the main idea of the story.
            The basic idea of this story is that the children at Hailsham are all created, mostly based off of what they call “trash” such as prostitutes, criminals, and so on. Basically, they are created because as they grow older, they will be harvested for their organs. As twisted and disgusted as that sounds, the book is really moving and quite fascinating. Broken up into three parts, the novel begins at Hailsham, the special school where Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy are currently enrolled. Kathy narrates the novel, reflecting on her memories. Following Hailsham was their life at the Cottages. This was where students of Hailsham went once they turned eighteen.  From the Cottages they would go on to become Carers for those who were already in the donation process. After their time as Carers, they too, would begin donating. The third part of this novel focuses on Kathy as a Carer, where she runs into both Ruth and Tommy.
            Never Let Me Go left me speechless when I finished it. While I didn’t really enjoy the first part about Hailsham, I did enjoy following their lives at the cottages and afterwards.  The whole story was just so meaningful that as the last pages came around, I found myself in tears. What I really like about the novel is how realistic it is. Okay, so people aren’t raised to donate their organs these days, but Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy felt so…average. There wasn’t much separating them from being normal children, teenagers, and adults, which I really enjoyed. It made it easier to connect and sympathize with them.
            The characters were all unique in their own way. Kathy was friendly and quiet, but she didn’t really have much backbone. She tended to let Ruth push her over, which bothered me because I really wished she would stand up for herself. Ruth was just a horrible person. She was nasty to Kathy and even Tommy as well. Personally, I hated Ruth, however I loved Tommy. He was a really whiny kid, but as he got older he was more tolerable. He was so kind and he cared about Ruth and Kathy greatly. Now, I know that the characters don’t seem all that spectacular, but I think that’s what made them seem so ordinary.
            I wouldn’t have enjoyed the writing style in any other novel, but in this one, it really worked. As if I hadn’t stressed this enough, the book was extremely realistic and the writing style only added to this concept. Instead of flowing elegantly, it was simple and to the point. There was nothing beautiful about it, but it was more like everyday conversations. So I give Mr. Ishiguro major props for that.
            So my advice…read this book! Seriously. I know the concept is really gross, but it’s not too present in the book and the story underneath is heartwarming. It’s a great read, so definitely check it out. If you liked the book or if you’re one of those people that don’t actually read the books and just watch the movie (shame on you! just kidding) there is a movie for Never Let Me Go with Keira Knightly and Andrew Garfield. I saw it and I actually thought it was pretty good. It stayed close to the storyline, but the book just delves in deeper. Still, if you are interested in the movie. The trailer is below! I also want to apologize for all the pictures, I just think the different covers are pretty cool :)


  1. Both the movie and the book look amazing. Great review & thanks for sharing :)

  2. WOW sounds very interesting and I love your reviews! I've been reading a lot of Murakami in recent years, have you read some of his fiction? I love Kafka on the Shore and the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, so captivating!

  3. I've heard so many great things about the movie (but I haven't seen it) .. that I really want to read the book first and watch the move afterwards !! =)
    Thanks for the review ;) !! Can't wait to read this one now !!

  4. Lovely review for a beautiful book! I loved the book and agree with pretty much everything you said. I haven't seen the movie yet but I really hope I love it as much as the book- Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield seem perfect to play Ruth, Kathy and Tommy.

  5. Wow, this sounds so beautiful! The book sounds brilliant, and I saw the film advertised: it looks great too.
    Brilliant review! This is on my Wishlist now!


Thank you for commenting! You've just made my day :)