"Never Let Me Go"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
My book-club discussed this book for September's meeting, which was this past Monday. Our meeting started at 7PM, we started talking about the book around 7:30PM, and didn't stop talking about the book until after 9:30PM. This book led to quite the discussion!

The premise of the book is tragic and the author examines subject matter which I feel, as horrific as it is to consider, could realistically be in our future. For others in my book-club, it was difficult to imagine or conceive that humans could ever go quite that far. The author's treatment of the characters and the world in which they are forced to exist, having been brainwashed to believe their lives have purpose and meaning, conflates the inhumane with the humane on a level where the reader is able to sympathize and identify with not only the feelings and plight of the protagonists, but the antagonists in the story as well--and that for me was frightening and unsettling.

I couldn't stop thinking about this book many days after I'd finally finished it. When I first picked it up, I assumed it was a love story based on the title, but, like usual, judging a book by its title is seldom ever an accurate assumption. I was captivated by the characters and the imagery of their world, and couldn't put it down until I'd finished reading the story to its end.

To make this story even more impacting, while I was reading the scene in which the meaning of the title became apparent (spoiler: it's the name of a song), I realized that an American song by the same name was playing in the coffee shop in which I was reading. The timing was so perfect it was a little unnerving. It would have been incredible enough to have it play while I happened to be reading the book, but to have it come on as I read the scene where the meaning of the title is revealed made it particularly chilling. That particular scene in the book, which I won't describe here, will now be forever etched in my memory, and even without the song playing in the background, the scene was so efficaciously written that it moved me beyond words.

This book will make you think about limitation, morality, acceptance, justification, loss, forgiveness, purpose, and depravity. Read when you're in the mood to contemplate, but not in the mood to be entertained with warm, fuzzy feelings. I'll keep my copy on my book-shelf, which I save for books that I've enjoyed so much I can't part with them. This was one of those books.

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