|Never Let Me Go
4 / 5
"My name is Kathy H."
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.
Well, this was my first Ishiguro (I have Remains of the Day lined up as well; I had difficulty deciding which audiobook to start with!) and I feel like there was definitely a lot of hype for it to live up to. Well-deserved hype, but...would I have loved this book just a little bit more had I stumbled across it, and not expected so much from it? Probably, yes. Because I think I DID love the book. It was charming and sentimental and I adored the conversational tone that Ishiguro wrote from Kathy H’s point of view - and I was quite impressed by the author’s ability to write young women! But. There was the expectation built in. Which really upsets me, because I enjoy reading books that people have already read & loved. It makes me feel certain that I will find something worthwhile in between the covers. (I defer often to the “wisdom of the crowd” on Goodreads!) And it does work out well that way - I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that I ended up hating that others adored. But, I have fallen into this situation several times, where too much hype makes me want more from a book than the book can give me. Le sigh!
However. That is not to say I didn’t love this book! It had such a great concept (I feel as if I can’t spoil it, though! - so talking about this book will be mighty difficult). I give Ishiguro a lot of credit for taking a current trend and imagining a truly possible (and somewhat horrifying) future. I just wish I had come up with it, myself! He did a wonderful job with character development; I enjoyed how the reader grew up with the students at their private school. I wanted to befriend Kathy and I wanted to kick Ruth in the teeth for her manipulative ways. Tommy just always seemed rather...slow to me. Perhaps that was just how the reader portrayed him, but I really got the impression he was somewhat dimwitted. Maybe Ishiguro just meant to convey a feeling of innocence around that character, who knows.
And they were all so innocent of their actual futures. It was tragic, and certainly moving when they finally realized what was going on. You want desperately to believe that we, humanity, would never do such a horrific thing, but...it’s frighteningly easy to see that as one possible future for us. Man oh man.
Great slow reveal, and while the climax wasn’t terribly startling, it was a strong resolution to a long-running puzzle. I enjoyed this book and certainly look forward to more Ishiguro!
P.S. This isn’t related to the review, but wanna know one thing that really bothered me? The fake cassette tape that they sent out to promote the film adaptation looked NOTHING like Kathy H had described it. Why would they not recreate the image that the author had described, since it was his invention?!? So weird.
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