Friday, July 15, 2016

Book Brief: The Children Act by Ian McEwan



The Children Act
by Ian McEwan
Vintage Digital, 2014
224 pages
source: ebook borrowed from the library

Summary (from goodreads):
Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge who presides over cases in the family division. She is renowned for her fierce intelligence, exactitude, and sensitivity. But her professional success belies private sorrow and domestic strife. There is the lingering regret of her childlessness, and now her marriage of thirty years is in crisis.
       At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: Adam, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, is refusing for religious reasons the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents echo his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely expressed faith? In the course of reaching a decision, Fiona visits Adam in the hospital—an encounter that stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.

Three-sentence review:

Beautifully written, as I've come to expect from McEwan. A controversial court case and the 59-year-old female judge's crumbling marriage are the driving forces behind this relatively quiet, but thought-provoking novel. This will be on my mind for some time...

My rating:

I wavered between 4 and 5 stars, but decided to go with five because the novel is so discussion-worthy... and it's McEwan.


20 comments:

  1. You sure said a lot in those three sentences. Enough to make me want to read it.

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    1. Vicki - It's a great read! Hope you get a chance to try it.

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  2. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I'm still behind on reading Atonement, but this one sounds like a book I'd have to add to the TBR as well :)

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    1. Melinda - McEwan is such a good writer! I seem to be collecting his books myself... still have three more on my shelf unread.

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  3. Oh, I love a book that lingers in my mind like that.

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    1. Kathy - I think this would make a good book club selection, too. SO much to discuss!

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  4. This one does look good, and I love a book that stays with me. I've never read a book by this author. *gasps* Maybe I should start with this one because I really like that synopsis.

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    1. Kathy - I think this might be a good place to start with McEwan... it's relatively short, too. Though most people think Atonement is his masterpiece.

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    1. Patty - I think you will like it, too.

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  6. I'm interested in what aspect of the story stays with you, JoAnn. What parts do you think will provoke the most discussion?

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    1. Debbie - I was most fascinated by the judge's decision-making (both during and after the hearing) and how her lifestyle choices, especially remaining childless, may have had an influence. The decision itself could keep my book club talking for hours!

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  7. Great summary of your thoughts. Loved this one too but you said it better in fewer words!

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    1. Emma - I was hoping those few words would be enough to convey how much I loved this book.

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  8. I loved atonement, but haven't read any of McEwan's other works. I love your three sentence summary. I love books that linger in your mind long after you read them. I need to read this!

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    1. Laura - I am slowly making my way through all of McEwan's novels. Next up is Amsterdam... will be reading with Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day) in September.

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  9. Yes yes and yes. I must get to this. I wasn't sure if people were liking this McEwan but now I will surely get it. thanks

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    1. Susan - I'm still thinking about this book... so good! Amsterdam will be my next McEwan, will be reading that in September.

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  10. Ooh, I really need to get a copy of this. Normally I'd say that I would get it on audio, but his writing is so good that I have to get it in print.

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    1. Les - I agree! Not sure I'd want to listen to McEwan. But if I ever did, I'd need a print edition, too, to go back and reread his wonderful sentences.

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