Tuesday, May 09, 2006

"Never Let Me Go"


For my birthday, Rich gave me this book and I read it last week. It was unsettling, to say the least.
. . . .
I've never really liked novels that are set in the future. When I was a college freshman, I wrote a major paper for an English class, comparing a group of them. I found them all to be dystopic and depressing.
. . . .
Never Let Me Go is so well-written. While I detested the premise of it, I couldn't put it down, and I was impatient to find out exactly what was going on in this peculiar world that Kathy, Tommy and Ruth inhabited. Students at what seems at first to be a typical English boarding school, they don't seem to have any families or any kind of life away from the school. Eventually we realize that they have been developed as clones to provide organ donations.
. . . .
Despite my distaste for the basic premise of the book, there were a couple of themes that spoke to me.
. . . .
The scene where the group of students discovered a woman in the world beyond the school whom they believed to have been Ruth's "possible," that is, the person she was cloned from, got me to thinking about the need for family, even or especially for those who have never ever known family. Kathy's dancing with an imaginary baby was another piece of this theme. We have a basic drive or urge to know those we came from and to know there will be those who come after us.
. . . .
In one long scene, Tommy and Kathy as young adults meet with -- almost confront -- two of their former school teachers. These women talked about how clones were treated in other settings; they wanted to believe that in the wonderful school that they had run, they were doing something good, by providing an education and a life for the clones.
. . . .
That raised the question, "How do we use others to make us feel good about ourselves?"
. . . .
The breeding of people with the intent of using them only to donate organs to others raises the hard question, "How do we use others in general?"
. . . .
I can't say that I liked the book. I can say, though, that I am glad that I read it and that it was very difficult to put down.

1 comment:

Ms. Jan said...

Thanks for the book review Nancy--I'll put this on my request list at the library. Unsettling is OK, can't put it down is very desirable!