‚Never Let Me Go‘
by Kazuo Ishiguro
This book tells about a world in which the people have been able to create complete human clones. With it the humanity caused to cure the most fatal illnesses and to guarantee a long healthy life. Hence the human clones are virtually only ‚produced’ for later, when they are adults, to donor their organs and to let operate on them over and over again for donations, till they are ‘completed’, which means up to death.
But this story isn’t about the people who have got a better life because of this new ‚achievement‘, but about the human clones.
The story is told from the point of view of 31-year-old Kathy, who is after 12 years as a ‘carer’ just before the time when she will also become a donor. The whole book Kathy remembers about her past live: It is starting with her childhood in the boarding school in Hailsham, through her youth time in the cottages and later to her time as an adult, working as a ‘carer’. But not the question of the donation and the inevitable death stands in the centre of the topic, but above all the friendship and love between the three central figures Kathy, Ruth and Tommy, who all grow up together in Hailsham. They already got explained as little children what’s the reason for their existence is, but they never really got to know the whole information, but always only fragments of it and in times when they’re still too young to understand.
It also behaves like this in the whole book. Kathy tells anecdotes, flashbacks over and over again and because of that there’s never a proper central theme in the book, but a constant change to and fro of a time in the next, in the present and again back to 2 years before it or 3 years ago. *totally confusing*
I don’t know how the book has managed to get nominated in 2005 for the highest British book price the ‚Booker Prize‘, or why it was added by the ‚Time’ to their list of the hundred best English-speaking novels from 1923 to 2005. Maybe they haven’t read the complete book, but only the synopsis and liked that. Who knows!? ^^
Unfortunately the book hasn’t worked for me at all, although I’ve found the description and also the circumstances which ruled in the book very interesting. Moreover because of the topic it would be a really exciting book for group discussions or for school classes because it raises many questions as for example: How would we handle an inevitable death if we were the clones? Or the question whether we would also close our eyes on how the clones were treated, if we were the organ recipient and it was about our own survival. Who has more right to live and who decides which methods are justifiable to provide the collective health? Is it tolerable to clone ‘humans’, only to harvest their organs afterward like ripe fruits? What is a defensible progress of science or what is morally wrong?
As I said, it’s a book which is very keen of discussions and the subject really leaves nobody cold and makes everybody think over their own opinion and to ponder the Pros and Cons. Hence the two points for the book, on account of the topic and the given conflict.
BUT now to the things which I haven’t liked in the book and have reduced the rating so drastically: The writing manner was okay and it also was easy and fluently to read, but the narrative perspective was dreadful and these whole flashbacks and time jumps were the pure horror. I didn’t like these whole jumps in the time in the least.
First it was confusing and I couldn’t get into a reading fluently, because it was too chopped off and incoherent. Furthermore the whole tension and the motivation were taken away and it wasn’t like in other books where I want to read on as fast as I can to get to know what happens after some actions, because here Kathy has always told what resulted out of some actions first and then how it came to it. Hence, it was never really thrilling to read on because I always already know before a new memory started how I would end and what happens as a result, because Kathy already told beforehand.
I know this sounds a little bewildering but to be honest, it was like this all the time in the book and in addition also just irritating and unnaturally. If I didn’t have to read this book for my ‘Book2Movie’ Challenge, then I probably would have broken it off several times.
For me the reading was very strenuous and I had to force myself over and over again to continue to read. But at some point I simply wanted to know, after all I have been through, how it would end. Not because I’ve cared so much for the characters, (this wasn’t the case and in my opinion her best friend Ruth was a ruthless, rotten piece who I wouldn’t have told any secret), but finally to know what the whole book actually was about. After the whole exertion I just wanted to get some answers after countless vague indications and these temporal jumps, but even here I got disappointed.
Even if there were also every now and then sensitive passages, which particularly described the special friendship of the three main characters or the perspective on life in general and on which reasons the people react and what results from which actions. But it wasn’t enough and I also never got a connection with the main character Kathy because she never really told how she felt. She didn’t let anybody look behind her facade and she just told her memories and hasn’t given anything from herself as a feeling person.
I’ve thought this book pursued a higher purpose and that at the end a solution or something like that would be presented, or an end that gives an ‘aha’-affect, but I didn’t even get that. It just ended and I as a read was virtually left hanging in the air without anything. It was very disappointing and I’ve still a grudge against that ending.
I’ve read this book for the ‘Book2Movie – Challenge’ 2012 !
by Jamie McGuire.
How can one love parts of a book and doesn’t understand some other parts of it or shakes the head frustrated in disbelieve? Here with this book it actually functions quite well, what is also probably due to the fact that it is relatively thick and sometimes the story goes in circles.
But back to the beginning, where honestly at first I’ve thought this story is a YA book version of the movie ‘Fight Club’, when Abby and Travis meet each other at this underground fight and hence my motivation was low. But already after one or two chapters I was totally involved in this story and the characters that I couldn’t stop to read any more, and if I’ve not read, then I thought all the time of them or dreamt about it.
After the false ‘Fight Club’ mistake, the story reminded me a little of the book ‘The Perfect Chemistry’ by Elkeles, but here it’s not a YA book, but for adults or older teenagers (approx. up from 17 years), because there’s sex in the book, but not described very detailed, so that I couldn’t only clarify it as an adult’s book – so you see, the erotic scenes remains within the scope. Moreover there were integrated really sweet elements, as for example the nickname ‘Pidge’ (from Pidgeon), which the Travis has chosen for Abby as a cute nickname.
What has reminded me so much of ‘Perfect Chemistry’ was this bad-guy type and his involvement with the ‘girl-next door’. Also here were included many stereotypes and things which usually disturb me or let my head shake, but here it wasn’t the case at all. It was a really nice, sweet story, which holds me prisoner and in which I could only wish the two protagonists best luck from the first up to the last page, and I hoped for them.
Of course the story isn’t perfect, for example the fact that some students in it were constantly smoking or that women partly got stereotypically stamped if they jump into bed with different guys, while the men aren’t got entitled as such, but were admired as ‚lady-killers’.
The same thing is also for the characters. I really like Travis and he has the certain something, which doesn’t let me go anymore and that I simply hoped for him. But he really could use a certain training against his aggressions and his constant mood changes – in the story he even appears sometimes like somebody that has a manic-depressive illness (described exaggerated, but still ^^).
And also the perfect Abby has her negative sides, for example that she runs away from problems and to big emotions, instead of rather to confront it and with that she could have made it easier for herself and also for Travis and the reader, instead of breaking everyone’s heart over and over again – even mine.
But in some way I think that exactly this mix of ‘not being perfect’ is the real charm in this book, that one never knows what will happen next and whether they get their happy end or not.
Though this book is exciting and intensely told, but not primarily rich with actions, but by the impulsive characters and their interaction, their chemistry. It is partially like a carousel, a constant up and down of emotions and a trip which goes from ‘sky-high jubilating’ to ‘endlessly depressed’ and back again.
Who is able to want to get into this rollercoaster, has here – besides some tears – also wonderful pages and experiences in view, with dramatic feelings and emotions, which know how to inspire.
But now shortly to a point, which I would also like to criticize: It was a little toughening in the middle part, and there came the point where I asked myself what there’s still to come. But the author has once again thought up something to bring in even more tortures and pain, which though some readers may find more exciting, but for me it was a little bit too unnatural. I think the book wouldn’t have needed this ‘problem’ anymore and therefore it could also have been a little shorter and I still would have been happy with it.
In favor the end was totally my taste and I can say with joy that I’ve not regretted to read this fabulous book. It was an emotional rollercoaster, a lovely journey, which I would make again any time.
name’s Travis. Travis Maddox.“
Abby: „I know who you are.“
“You do, huh?” Travis said, raising his wounded eyebrow.
“Don’t flatter yourself. It’s hard not to notice when fifty drunks are chanting your name. “
Travis sat up a bit taller. “I get that a lot.”
I rolled my eyes again, and Travis chuckled. “Do you have a twitch?”
“A what?” “A twitch. Your eyes keep wiggling around.” He laughed again when I glared at him.‘
Travis: „You know why I want you? I didn’t know I was lost until you found me. I didn’t know what alone was until the first night I spent without you in my bed. You’re the one thing I’ve got right. You’re what I’ve been waiting for, Pigeon.“
Thanks for the reviewer’s copy to:
by Lissa Price.
After I’ve read the pre-story ‘Portrait of a Starter’, I decided also to read the book ‘Starters’ by Lissa Price. To my luck I found out that the writing style, which is written in the present, hasn’t bothered me so much in the book then in the pre-story, because I’ve read it in English.
At the beginning everything was a little confusing, particularly with this war, by which I wasn’t sure what the war was about or who fought against whom and what spore/illness was there, that killed so many people. Another question was why only children and old people have survived this. Unfortunately, this all was a little too much at the beginning and I had to read a great piece through the book to get some few answers of many, important questions.
The basic idea wasn‘t bad but for me it was too overloaded and there were too many different things going on in this dystopia, as example: * this war, * the deadly illness Spores, * that the medicine has worked out a way that the people can become more than 200 years old (Enders) or * this organization which make it possible for the old people to slip into the bodies of teens.
Hence, I can say that some ideas were great and also at the beginning, the characters were well worked out and were likeable, but throughout the book it lacked in a good structure and elaboration of the story and also the persons in the book changed; in my opinion to the negative.
I really liked the first half of the book very much because I cared for Callie, the plot were exciting and had thrilling twists in it and it was definitely a page–turner for me.
Moreover, I liked that Callie, although now she was living in this luxurious world, she has always thought of her brother Tyler and Michel and referred what she could get for this or that in this luxurious flat (for example for a ring she could get so much food which would be able to feed 10 ‚friendlings‘ for a week, and so on…) and this stretched out through the book, what I found really great.
But unfortunately, after the second half my enthusiasm changed and then it has decreased rapidly. The plot stretched in the last pages and a lot was foreseeable and even Callie became more unlikeable. Also the end was only ‘expressionless’ and took a twist (keyword: Blake) which only make me shake my head!
It wasn’t also not helping the book that there was again a love triangle, which was more than only unnecessary and for me it was just annoying.*sigh*
At the end I was really disappointed and to tell the truth, I wasn’t interested in how it went on at all anymore. Now I’m so undecided whether I should still read the second book or not. But I’ve still time to decide that. 🙂
! SPOILER ALERT !
What else I would like to say: What’s the thing with all these love triangles? This can’t be or I just don’t get it! Especially here it would better without one. Moreover, I thought that it was more than idiotic that at the end one guy (Michel) simply runs away without saying a word to Callie and the other guy (Blaek) isn’t any more the guy she knew or believed she’ve known – everything very weird and not thrilling –> only the contrary!
This thing with Blake still disturbs me and I found it really terrible! My question to that: What does this then say about Callie, when she knows Blake isn’t himself any more or the guy she felt in love with, but she still wants him, nevertheless? To look at it exactly, actually she has fallen in love with the enemy, the ‘old man‘, whichI find quite disgusting, but okay …! 😀
What do you think about it and what is your opinion to that topic?
# 0,5: Lissa Price – Portrait of a Starter
# 1: Lissa Price – Starters »»
# 2: Lissa Price – Enders
‚The Woman in Black‘
by Susan Hill.
I don’t know exactly where I should start. I’ve read it in the English original and although I never had problems with the English language in other books, here in this book it has been difficult for me. The writing style wasn’t liquid at all, but had many nested sentences with which I couldn’t make friends, although it has become better after some time.
Moreover it was particularly at the beginning that a lot of the story was told from the past, so things which had happened to this Arthur Kipps and he described them like he was looking back. I was never a fan of that and therefore I also didn’t like it here. But luckily this changed throughout the story and it thereby also become better and more interesting.
Parts of the plot weren’t really bad and at times I have also been frightened and at some pages I also was interested tensely and wanted to know what to happen next. But more often it was only a reading to finally finish the book.
I recognize the fact that I don’t like a book very much, if I start to look occasionally at the page numbers and calculate for me how much I still have to read. If I start like that than it’s not good – and unfortunately here it was like this for the most part.
Moreover the construction of the arc of suspense, when it really became creepy and scary, was stressed too much and then it simply flattened, without something really happened, and the ghostly situation just passed and then it was over. *very strange*
Also the end was for me – the only shocking thing in it – because the rest of it with the children and the approximate family background wasn’t hard to figure out by myself.
But the fact that it really ends like this – okay, I also kind of saw that coming – but what was hard is that it came so all of a sudden and was simply over afterwards. There happened something big and then the book just ended without any concluding sentence or a final chapter and I found this a little awkward. On top of that the book often dragged for me and hence it gets only two points.
I’ve read this book for the ‘Book2Movie – Challenge’ 2012 !
‚The Forest of Hands and Teeth‘
by Carrie Ryan.
The first book in ‚The Forest of Hands and Teeth’ series kidnaps the readers in a surreal dystopia, in a world which could come straight from a horror movie. The story is told in the present by Mary, who lives in a village in the middle of a wood which is surrounded by a fence and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. The fence is there to protect the people in the village from the inhabitants of the wood who are deadly.
Who still couldn’t figure out from the name of the book… at this it deals with zombies and they are also described as we all know them: away eaten bodies, hanging limbs, sacked eyes and everything together bloodied and they wander around groaning, undead for all eternity in their search of living meat.
From topic the book has been really interesting for me and I also liked the world construction of Ryan and it has persuaded me, but sadly this was already everything I liked in it.
Because of the writing manner of Ryan I had the whole time the feeling to read the book only from a distance. Nothing was described definitively which concerns feeling, reactions and the plot and often there were longer time spans in between which then were told afterwards.
I don’t like that at all because I prefer a plot and a story which happens while I read it and where I’m totally in the story and can be anxious with the characters and their fate.
But well, here it wouldn’t have mattered to me anyway because I’ve never really become warm with the main character Mary.
From the first pages one she fantasize about a guy, then she finally gets him, after the reader had to endure her whining for him for 2/3 of the book, and then he isn’t enough for her – because she wants to see the ocean! Exactly, you’ve read it right – all the time here it’s about the damned ocean which Mary unconditional wants to see and for this she’s ready to sacrifice everything and everybody.
On top of that she makes some very stupid and also selfish decisions, only to ask herself afterwards constantly why she has done that and wallows in her self-pity and bad conscience. And this central theme goes on throughout the whole book!
Moreover, it was more than senselessly that Mary has constantly thought about her love life and has also pondered about other unnecessary stuff, while in that time there was in a 1-meter-distance a wire fence where zombies groaned and lusted for her flesh and life. Hello?? What should I say? Guess, you just have to make priorities and anyhow in this book the characters have acted sometimes very bizarre. The only bright spot was Travis, or also the dog, but that was it. 🙂
Another low point was the end, which came actually somewhere in the middle of the story and none of the open questions, which the protagonists have raised up throughout the story, were answered.
I would have been quite satisfied if I knew that these questions would be answered in the next books. But no; Ryan rather likes to tell the next book from the point of view from another person and this was for me the key point not to read the next book in this series.
Now I am really disappointed from this book because the zombie and horror genre, mixed with a love story, have interested me very much. Hence, I am grateful to everybody which could give me good book recommendations on this subject! I would be grateful for it, thx.
Only out of my interest I’ve read a few reviews to the second book and because I found two of them really amusing, and also reflected partly the absurdities which were also in the first book, I would like to let you read them as well. Therefore, if you also want to read them, then just simply follow the links.
Review # 1 *awesome*
Review # 2 *also interesting*
# 1: Carrie Ryan – The Forest of Hands and Teeth
# 2: Carrie Ryan – The Dead-Tossed Waves
# 3: Carrie Ryan – The Dark and Hollow Places
‚The Fellowship of the Ring‘
by J. R. R. Tolkien.
I don’t know where I should start and it’s really hard for me to write an appropriate review. I love the films and I’ve seen them already countless times and so often that I’m already able to join in the dialogues. Hence, everybody can probably understand that the book hasn’t offered a lot of attraction or tension for me anymore and that it was a laborious reading. I have already bought the book years ago in English and since then I tried to read it twice and have broken off every time.
And also this time I have quarreled so much with myself, but everybody told to me and said that I just have to come to a certain point and then it’ll become better and more interesting. But unfortunately, this point has never really came for me, that I would say ‘wow, now I must read on because it’s so interesting’ but it was always a compulsion to finally finish this book, which I have already started at the end of December –> probably this says everything. 😦
The writing manner of Tolkien was definitely not what I usually like. For me it was too overloaded, too poetically and everything was described too precisely. Particularly the beginning was a horror for me, when the whole family relationship by Frodo and Bilbo were explained. Does somebody like this our find this interesting?
I like it when something is happening, but here the real action has only begun after the first third of the book! Also everything wasn’t easy to understand and in my opinion at the beginning it was also difficult to come into the story, mostly because of the Old-English from Tolkien, which he has exaggerated too much and which I’ve not liked at all. Later when the story did go on, it become better, but the dialogues remained very ancient and conceited, so that I had to force myself to read on.
Nevertheless, now I can’t rate the book only negatively, because I love the main story and the characters in it so much …though, if I’m honest, mainly from the movies. But here I couldn’t really build up a good connection and it wasn’t a joyful reading. But as said, this is certainly because I already know the movies in and by heart. Hence, I would recommend this book for everybody who likes fantasy, but maybe for those who haven’t already seen the movies or not too often. 🙂
The plot and the action in the story gets better and more interesting after the point, where the hobbits leave the woods in which Tom Bombadil lives in. I know, some of you love Tom Bombadil but I thought he was only annoying with all his singing and prancing and therefore I’m glad he wasn’t also in the movie. Sorry- but that’s my opinion on that subject.
However, it become really exciting when they decide to destroy the ring, to bring him to Mordor and when they form the fellowship of the ring, to make their dangerous and almost impossible way there. My favorite characters are Sam (Sam is the real hero in my eyes!! Gandalf, Strider/ Aragon and of course Pippin *lol*)
I’m happy to be able to finish this book after nearly 3 months I certainly won’t read the other 2 books. There I‘m completely content with the movies. 😉
Frodo: „I wish it need not have happened in my time.“
Gandalf: „So do I, and so do all who live to see such times.
But that is not for them to decide.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.“
# 1: J. R. R. Tolkien – The Fellowship of the Ring
# 2: J. R. R. Tolkien – The Two Towers
# 3: J. R. R. Tolkien – The Return of the King
I read this book for the ‚Book2Movie – Challenge‘ 2012 !