Rebecca's Reviews > Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
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's review
Jul 29, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: made-into-movies
Read from June 01 to 05, 2011 , read count: 1

I am somewhat conflicted about this book, including whether my rating should be 3 or 4 stars. The writing was great, and I was hooked from the first sentence, even though I'd approached the book with an attitude along the lines of "Oh, all RIGHT, if it's going to be SUCH a big deal, I GUESS I'll read it." I read it eagerly, looking for stolen moments to get in a few more pages, and read the last 50 pages or so straight through because I just had to know how it ended.

And the ending, or rather the last quarter, is what bothers me. I kept reading, waiting for the action to pick up or the plot to really begin. Surely all of these mysterious hints and dropped secrets will add to something dramatic! Surely there will be an epic showdown against a shadowy government agency! Surely there will be car chases and gun fights at some point! (Fans of the book will be able to tell that I knew absolutely nothing about it before I read it, other than it is A Thing.) Surely there is a conspiracy that they have to take on, and that's what all of this is about, and that's how it got to be a movie. It's like The Da Vinci Code, but British!

No. That did not happen. There was a Clarissa Explains It All confrontation near the end, but it felt distinctly anti-climatic, especially since having their hopes and dreams crushed, the main characters basically went "Oh, okay," and went about their business. There was no resolution and no real reason for all of it, and for all the change the characters themselves went through, the situation was static at the end. The wheels keep rolling and students keep getting crushed in them, and nothing has actually changed. And that really bothered me.

However, on reflection, I think that that might have been the point--there is no resolution for the reader because there is none for the main characters, and the point might be the futility of trying to break out of one's predestined roles, but the necessity of trying anyway, or something. Maybe not in so many words, but the more I think about it the more I believe that the lackluster ending was on purpose, to fit with the fatalistic tone of the rest of the book. That makes sense, but it doesn't make me any less disappointed that they didn't blow up the Death Star, or something.

Final note, and speaking of the Death Star: I don't really see how this is "sci-fi." I read a lot of sci-fi, it is my preferred genre, and honey, this isn't really sci-fi. It's alternate history, I suppose, but that's not the same thing, at least in my opinion. Feel free to disagree. I also want to see how they made a movie out of this, since it didn't have classic five-act plot structure, and would require a lot of reordering to make sense in a linear movie. And I can only assume they changed the ending, to keep the audience from torching the theater at the end. The movies-only audience seems less than tolerant of that sort of thing.
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06/03/2011 page 116

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Cecily I quite agree. I found the whole plot ludicrous and the Clarissa bit infuriatingly clichéd.

Rebecca What I want to know is, how this became such A Thing. How did it become a movie? Why is it so talked about? I feel like either I'm missing something, or we're all missing something together, and so book elitists decided that because it makes no sense it must be Great Art.

message 3: by Kipahni (new) - added it

Kipahni I hated the movie and wanted to torch the theater, and because of that I am very cautious with wanting to read the book!
Good review

Cecily Rebecca: Good question, and I'd like to know the answer too.

Kipahni: I disliked the book, so won't see the film - even though it has a good cast.

Rebecca I have the movie on my Netflix queue, mostly because I have -no- idea how they would translate such an slow, internal work into a movie. I'm assuming they must have rewritten the entire book and just kept the title, which wouldn't be the first time.

Rachel Macdonald Just finished it. Loved the writing, which surprised me because a few years ago I picked up a book by the same author and couldn't stomach more than one page.
I pretty much agree with your review. A different ending, or something... But yes, I also see why he chose this plotline.
But four stars from me, because it was gripping, clutching writing.

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