Sunday, March 20, 2011

Never Let Me Go

Yesterday I finished Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.  Just a few hours later I was watching the film version.  I have to tell you this book took me a little longer to read than I expected.  The story line was interesting.  The concept was a little frightening.  [Beware!  Spoilers will soon follow!]  I liked it, but it seemed to ramble. 

It's written in the voice of Kathy H., a young woman who is a carer.  The way she tells her story is very stream-of-consciousness.  She gets started telling one thing, then goes back to explain, then heads down another path before finally getting back to her original point.  I'm sure that was what the author intended, but it just didn't really work for me.  It was too easy for me to become distracted. 

She also tells the story in such a way that it's impossible to know exactly what is going on until halfway through the book.  In the 1950s, scientific breakthroughs led to cloning.  Those clones were used as donors in order to cure cancer, heart disease and motor-neuron disease.  The donors are created, kept healthy and allowed to mature into young adults.  They then begin donating their vital organs to keep other people alive, improving life-expectancy to over 100 years.  Kathy's story focuses on herself and two friends from the school in which they were raised.  As I said before, it's a frightening concept.  One can only hope that ethics regulations can keep something like this from actually happening. 

It was almost a distopian novel, so I can't really say I enjoyed reading it, but it was interesting.  Children created and raised for the sole purpose of donating their body parts so that other people can live longer, healthier lives.  It's an awful thought.  At the end of the film, Kathy says, "I wonder if we're really so much different from the people we save.  Do any of us really feel like we've had enough time?"  It does cause the reader to contemplate his or her own mortality. 

If you read it, let me know what you think!

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