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Hello, my name is Valorie. I have a Master's Degree in History and a license to teach-- I have been both university professor and public school teacher. Currently, I am a middle school social studies teacher. I love horror movies and spooky things. Every day is Halloween. I am also a passionate book blogger.

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Book Review: 23:27 by H.L. Roberts

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Book Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Title: Never Let Me Go 
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro 
Genre: Fiction 
Finished: September 11, 2008

As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.

I loved this book. I should say that it's not a book for everyone since it sometimes drags along with a lot of 'everyday life' detail. I can see some people getting bored, but I decided to take the book for what it was worth; I realized early on the value of the story pacing because I knew in the end it would personalize me more the characters in such a way that I could understand their mindset. I lived their life with them. There has been some criticism of this book that no character rebelled against their fate as eventual organ donors, that everyone just seemed to accept that one day they would become donors and then die. I feel that this criticism is misguided. How are people to know what the world is like when they've been conditioned to live and think one way? From the day these clones were 'born,' they were raised to believe and live one way. That they accepted their fate is no different from the way that we accept our own. One can't expect characters to manifest deep philosophical thought about something they have no knowledge of whatsoever. In so many dystopian novels, people do rebel against the order in place and this is what readers come to expect. Why should it always be the case? Why should every one of these books be about the destruction of a misguided society? Can't it just be a snapshot in the process? The lives of a few people involved but not earth shattering? The characters never went into long speeches about how unfair their lives were, they just lived life, enjoyed what they could, but always knew they would die for the sake of others. To tell the truth, I couldn't stand to read the last page. It actually hurt to read them. I didn't want the book to end because I knew what would happen, I knew what would become of the characters. It wasn't even their sadness that I absorbed more than it was my own sadness that this was all that their lives were about.

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