Friday, September 18, 2009
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Pub. Date: March 2006
Rating: 5 out of 5
Summary: Kathy, Ruth and Tommy grew up in a boarding school called Hailsham in England. As an adult, Kathy became a carer and both Ruth and Tommy re-entered her life. Kathy remembers the bond they have shared and their life in Hailsham where they had been regarded as "special" by their guardians and teachers. This is a moving and unforgettble book about friendship, love, and betrayal.
Review: This was the first book I ever read by Mr. Ishiguro, and I loved it! Immediately, when I picked it up at the bookstore, I just had a good feeling about it. Based on the book blurb, I also knew that there was a little bit of a love story and a love triangle. I later discovered that I was right, but the love story here wasn't overbearing so I wasn't disappointed.
So what's this really all about? And what the heck is Hailsham anyway? Why are Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth "special?" Well, Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth are human clones. In Hailsham, they and other children clones are raised like "normal" children so that they can become organ donors. But not all of them become donors. Kathy (the narrator), for instance, becomes a carer - someone who takes care of the donors.
Actually, it isn't surprising for Kathy to become a carer. Even as children, Kathy has that type of personality where she takes care of everyone. It becomes a disadvantage though since she seems to forget her needs over everyone else's, even when it comes to her love for Tommy. I do like Kathy, but at the same time, she irritates me because she lets Ruth take advantage of her. Ruth is suppose to be Kathy's best friend, but because of her selfishness and insecurity, she does things to ruin their friendship and even Kathy's friendship with Tommy.
What else did I like about this book? Well, the writing, of course. I think Mr. Ishiguro is just wonderful. I have a favorite scene where Kathy and Tommy were in Norfolk, and Tommy bought this old tape that Kathy had lost when they were in Hailsham. The scene just touched me. There was also a line that Tommy said to Kathy. It's a little sad but here it is:
"I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the river moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold on to each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end, it's just too much. The current's too strong. They've got to let go, drift apart."
It was just beautiful. Sad, but beautiful.
Even though the ending left me disappointed, I gave this book my highest rating. I suppose it's the issue about cloning that made me wonder if it was right to give the clones hope to have a normal human life when their sole purpose was to become organ donors. It really made me think about what our society could be capable of. I guess that's why this book will stay with me.
Recommendation: Yes, I definitely recommend it to everyone. It was an eye-opener for me.