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Sunday, December 11, 2011

We All Complete - Book Review: Never Let Me Go

Finally, after all of this time, I managed to get this book done. What a touching story. I cried in the end, because it's a tragic story I should say. Not only a tragic love story, but also a tragic and terrible truth of their fate. When I read this book, I learned a lot of new vocabularies as Kazuo used uncommon words-pardon my bad and limited vocabularies in English as it's not my first language, till I have to say something that would embarrassed me like this on my own blog, but I am telling the truth :) and it might not be a problem for you :)- Anyway, at the very first time I read the book, I can see that Kazuo used a strong words and it somehow made me think, this was a heavy ones. That bad thought of mine, enough to make me lose the interest in finishing the book. But Thanked God, something inside me keep on telling me to finish it, at least for "something's-or I can say someone's-sake". Haven't read his book before, so I don't know it's his style in writing or it's just on this particular book only.

Then I found out, the more I read it, the more I started to understand the storyline and of course, Kathy's feeling. It's hard for me to put down the book once you've started. I keep on going on and on and when I reached the last page, the last paragraph, I was hoping for more lines there to read. It was such a very sad ending. Personally, I don't like a book with sad ending, but this one is worth to read.

I've watched the movie too, and my suggestion based on what I've experienced, you should watch the movie first then read the book, or else, you'll be disappointed. I love movies, but I prefer read the book first, because by reading, we can imagine things and the stories, characters and the possibilities are endless. You can imagine anything, then after that, you watch the movie and see if it suits to your imagination or even higher or worst. You must have heard or read about me always looking for spoilers and I love it when people tell stories about movies they've watched in such details from beginning till the very end. Yeah, it's simply because, I want to imagine them first, then I want to see the reality fits to my imagination or not. It's weird I know, but that's me. When I read a book, I always want to know how's the ending and I might be cheating by turning to the very last page to know what's going on at the end, somehow, it will makes me more excited in reading the whole book. :p

Well, back to the Never Let Me Go, why I am suggesting you to watch first, because you'll get disappointed with the movie if you read the book first. It was a short one and they put not too much details in the movie. I can see some missing parts and important moments that they should put in the movie, but they didn't. Bur still it's a beautiful piece, so just watch and read it :)

I found a quite long good review about the book and the story and because I am too lazy to type it down, so here they are.

Never Let Me Go is a novel about Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy. They are three students who reside in Hailsham, a boarding school. Or at least that is what is said in the outset. But soon enough, the reader realizes that this is no ordinary boarding school: teachers are called guardians, and students are encouraged to produce poetry and art but nothing else. There's an interesting method of economics in the school, where they get to buy other people's artwork using tokens. There is also a character only known as Madame, who collects the most beautiful pieces produced by the students, hoarding them in a secret gallery.

Later on, other crucial facts are slowly revealed to the reader. Slowly, the reader learns that the students are there for a purpose, a purpose that perhaps is advantageous for the greater society, but definitely not for the students themselves. This slow-moving revelation is the crux of the novel, something that I am highly tempted to reveal here, but opt not to. I'd leave that to the reader to discover.

But no, the focus of the novel is actually not on this dystopian and dysfunctional fact. Instead, the focus rests on the social dynamic between Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy. Early on, Kathy is one timid girl, who seems to be more of a follower than a doer. She is content with observing her surroundings instead of doing things. Ruth is one feisty girl she befriends, and Tommy is a boy with a temper, but things lead to Kathy and Tommy being close to each other.

Upon hitting puberty, Ruth and Tommy decide that they like each other, and so they become a couple and have plenty of sex. However, it is obvious to the reader that old pals Kathy and Tommy are better suited for each other. Ruth is the anti-heroine; I just couldn't make up my mind whether I liked her or not. She does things that preclude me from totally thinking that he is the antagonist. After all, it is the society as a whole which is the antagonist in this novel; Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy only have different ways of dealing with the obstacles that are presented in front of them.

As Never Let Me Go progresses, the characters leave the scene one by one. Ruth becomes the first one to go . As she lay dying, she convinces Kathy and Tommy to be a couple, after all, they are compatible with each other. She admits that it was her life-long goal to antagonize the two apart, her reason being that otherwise, she would feel quite lonely. She reveals information that would potentially give them reprieve from the ultimate end that they all are facing. To make a long story short, this is a story about the social and emotional dynamics between three people, between a love triangle, as they navigate their short life here on earth, knowing that sometime in the future, there will be an end.

With respect to the novel, I am actually glad that I picked up this book. I don't think I can say anything negative about it. I loved the way that it was written: the narration was subtle, and it felt like it was a narration that slowly embraced my whole being as I read the book. I remember feeling the same way when I read my very first Ishiguro, when I picked up Nocturnes. It was just a style of narration that was addictive and intoxicating.

With respect to the structure, I appreciated this style where things were slowly revealed to the reader, and the reader's task was to piece things together and string the clues together so that they would make sense as a whole. As much as the topic sounds like science fiction, where the characters exist in a dystopian alternate universe, it wasn't presented as science fiction. Instead, this felt more like a psychological thriller, in which the conflict rested completely within the minds of the three main characters. I guess this is one exception to the stereotype that sees science fiction as all about gadgets and other hype, and lacking soul and emotional impact.

Overall, I loved Never Let Me Go. This is one book that will linger in my head for the days to come. I enthusiastically give it 5 out of 5 stars.

If you wish to read it from its original website, you can find it here.

Here's another review about the movie-story, taken from IMDB.

The film begins with onscreen captions explaining that a medical breakthrough in 1952 has permitted the human lifespan to be extended beyond 100 years. Subsequently, the film is narrated by 28-year-old Kathy H. as she reminisces about her childhood at Hailsham, as well as her adult life after leaving the school.

The first section of the film depicts the young Kathy, along with her friends Tommy and Ruth, spending their childhood at Hailsham, a seemingly idyllic English boarding school. It is subtly revealed that the film is set in an alternate twentieth century. One of the teachers is fired after telling the pupils of their fate: they exist to provide donor organs for transplants. They will be nurtured to adult age at which time they will be available for "selection." After their third "selection" they will "complete" before they can be selected for any more procedures. Some "complete" after their first, though, while others survive through four or more procedures. Tommy is emotionally angry and is teased by the other boys. Kathy falls in love with him.

In the second section of the film, the three friends, now teenagers, are rehoused in cottages on a rural farm. They are permitted to leave the grounds if they wish. They do not question the ethics of their situation. At the farm, they meet other graduates of similar places. Kathy, Tom and Ruth are clones who are fascinated by the idea of finding the original people that they were "modeled on". Kathy and her friends are questioned about rumours of the possibility of "deferral" - which allows couples several extra years before being "selected" if they are in love and can prove it. Tommy reasons that the art gallery at Hailsham was intended to identify clones who have a soul. Tommy and Ruth become sexually active. The lonely Kathy applies to become a "carer" - a clone who is taught to drive and trained to give post-operative care to others, and given a temporary reprieve from selection as an exchange for supporting and comforting donors as they are made to give up their organs. She has become a carer by the time she hears that Tommy and Ruth have split up.

In the third scenario of the film, Kathy has been working as a carer some years later. She has watched many clones "complete" as their organs are donated; their deaths are referred to as "completion". She reunites with Ruth, who is frail after two donations. Ruth has been keeping track of her and Tommy. She helps Kathy arrange their reunion. Ruth admits that she did not love Tommy and seduced him because she was jealous and afraid to be alone. She is consumed with guilt, and has been searching for a way to help Tommy and Kathy. She believes that Tommy and Kathy would qualify for "deferral." She gives them an address, that of "Madame" who would visit the Hailsham and select works of the students' art would be worthy to go into the gallery. Ruth "completes" on the operating table shortly afterward. Tommy explains to Kathy that he has been creating art for the past several years in hopes of a deferral. He and Kathy drive to visit the Madame. There is no such thing as deferral after all though. Tommy's artwork will not help them.

The film ends after Tommy has "completed." Kathy is left alone. Two weeks after losing Tommy, Kathy is notified that her first "selection" will take place in one month. Contemplating their childhood, she speculates whether their fate is really all so different from the people who receive their organs; "We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we've lived through or feel we've had enough time."

I come here and imagine that this is the spot where everything I've lost since my childhood is washed out. I tell myself, if that were true, and I waited long enough then a tiny figure would appear on the horizon across the field and gradually get larger until I'd see it was Tommy. He'd wave. And maybe call. I don't know if the fantasy go beyond that, I can't let it. I remind myself I was lucky to have had any time with him at all. What I'm not sure about, is if our lives have been so different from the lives of the people we save. We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we've lived through, or feel we've had enough time. ---Kathy, Never Let Me Go.

7 love notes (+add yours?)

  • 12/11/11, 5:44 PM

    Interesting review, makes me intrigued by his writing style. I'll definitely give this a try then :) I always get depressed after reading a tragic book but I don't like it if everything's too happy either. Haha.

    Also, big spoiler for One Day, in case u're interested: I only turned to read the last page and the ending is weird xD

    12/11/11, 11:49 PM

    :) You read the first chapter first the tell me if you like it or not :)

    Oh really? Can u explain more specific? LOL :p


    12/12/11, 10:16 PM

    wow you have a good taste


    12/13/11, 3:31 PM

    Okok, I will :P

    Hmm if you're sure. Basically they have really complicated love stories, got together in the end and then one of them dies XD

    12/14/11, 5:40 AM

    @Grace : Thanks ♥

    @steffi : Awwww... I'm dying to read it NOW!! :pppp


    12/14/11, 7:20 PM

    Loooove your blog!!!! xoxo from Rome


    12/14/11, 9:55 PM


    Thank you :)


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