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Never Let Me Go – Review by Margaret, Teen Blogger

Never Let Me Go - ebook coverNever Let Me Go is a 2005 adult futuristic science fiction novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. If you are into science fiction and dystopian literature, this book is for you. Investigating themes of the human condition, free will, and communication between youth, this book will make you empathize with characters in such a way that very few novels can do with such success.

This novel follows the peculiar lives of three people: Tommy, Ruth, and Kathy. It begins in the late 1990’s with the introduction of the protagonist, a 31-year-old woman named Kathy. She reveals she is a 'carer', an individual that cares for patients who are 'donors'. Kathy is a woman who is particularly skilled at what she does and therefore is a carer for much longer than most people.

Immediately after the book begins, Kathy starts reminiscing about her childhood in the English countryside at a boarding school called Hailsham; much of the first half of the novel is an account of Kathy’s experience at this school. Hailsham is a particularly strange environment that emphasizes the practice of art and writing rather than the conventional study of science and mathematics. This is not a normal boarding school in the way that the teachers interact with the students. The students are constantly reminded to stay healthy for their future responsibilities. Not only that, but students are encouraged to produce quality artwork which is then taken away by a woman whom the children call 'Madame'. They know if she takes their artwork, they are succeeding. Their teachers indoctrinate them with the principle that good artwork is essential to the prosperity of their lives. The students constantly question why their artwork is so essential, contributing to the underlying mystery in the book.

Tommy, Ruth, and Kathy realize that they are different and they aren’t like normal kids. Because they are different, they know they won’t live conventional lives and are constantly questioning their teachers about who and what they will become. The novel follows their realization of why things are so strange for them and provides an explanation of the perplexing world around them.

This is a very sad and slightly disturbing book. It digs deep into the crevices of human life and investigates all the facets that affect how we live our lives. The depth of character is extreme; the disturbing part about Kathy's character is she does not realize how unsettling her life is because of her ignorance. She lives her childhood flippantly with almost no consideration as to who she may become; she steadily creates artwork and keeps her health near perfect. Many of her biggest questions do not become answered until she is sixteen or seventeen-years-old.

Never Let Me Go is a critically acclaimed novel. The way that the human condition is often exhibited in the novel is quite overwhelming and combines beautifully with Ishiguro’s fantastic writing abilities. It is a deeply sad and moving book, but it is one that will leave you thinking long after closing the book. It encourages you to put your life into perspective and see life from a variety of different vantage points. It is beautifully written, with shocking teachings. Never Let Me Go is a triumph.


Teen Blogger

[Editor's Note: this book is also available in downloadable e-book]


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