Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Book Review

Atonement by Ian McEwan
Synopsis: England, summer of 1935. The world is on the verge of its second world war. Thirteen-year-old Briony views, from her bedroom window, a puzzling scene, then is privy to a turn of events, which she very seriously misunderstands. The novel takes us through most of Europe and World War II. I fear I've already said too much.
Readability: Hard to get into at first (in my opinion due mostly in part to the fact that it harkens a little too much to Virginia Woolf [ahem]), but completely captivating, nevertheless. Even when I had trouble getting into it, I still couldn't stop thinking about it.
Predictability: To the bitter, bitter end, I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen. Talk about twists and turns!
Couldn't Put it Down Factor: Let me paint a picture for you. It took me a full week to read the first 100 pages. I read the remaining 400 pages in 36 hours. I exaggerate not.
Recommend it?: YESSSSSSSSSSS! Be warned, however, that part of Briony's misunderstanding revolves around a very, VERY bad word. Truly shocking. In fact, I thought, "Why would the author DO that??" And then, as I kept reading (because I couldn't stop), it all became clear. Regardless, I would hate to recommend a book only to offend someone... There is some other colorful language, but less than is in most movies these days.
Overall Rating: Four and a half stars. Minus one half because I just can't bear to give it a perfect five. Yes, I would be that kind of teacher.
The Movie: Love, love, LOVED it! L.O.V.E.D. it. Lovedit. DO read the book first. You'll enjoy the movie either way, but it was so nice to "hear" the actors thoughts, ifyouknowwhatimean.


Kelli said...

TOTALLY agree with the book review. I cruised right through. I knew the movie was coming out but wanted the read the book first. I didn't like the movie nearly as much as the book, though. Shocker there.

kristi noser said...

I tried to watch this movie twice. Fell asleep both times, but then I do that on other movies too...sometimes in the theater.

angie said...

ooooh i can't wait to read it!

Anonymous said...

I too loved the book, but it left me stunned for a few days. After reading it, I mostly thought about how tough it is to be a kid and not understand what goes on around you in an adult context, and how hard it is to be a parent to kids (though my are now grown; I do have grandkids I think about a lot however.) It's a fine line to walk between openness and protection, childhood and adulthood. I am sure we all have things we can think about in our childhoods where we too misinterpreted the things said or done in our presence, but hopefully with much less severe consequences.

Enjoy your book reviews!
Carole Weitner

Jon said...

Seriously, why are you not trying to get yourself a job with those reviews?

carrie said...

Have you thought of becoming a columnist or professional book reviewer and work from home-I think Jon and I are thinking the same thing-as he types his comment.

Anonymous said...

Wow....I have seriously tried 3 times to get "into" this book and couldn't make it past page 50. Now you make me want to try again!
Shannon B.

Sx Benjamin said...

I have not read the book, but the movie sucker punched me. In a good way. Pretty much from the time Vanessa Redgrave came on the screen, I was out for the count. Done. A total mess.

When art (film, music, literature, painting, ... ice carving, whatever) can do that to you, leave you feeling like you just got jumped in broad daylight and are now laying on the ground, trying not to move lest the pain get any worse, that's an AMAZING work of art. I mean, really, to make you FEEL on that level; it's just a miracle that you can experience this totally subjective thing and it can create such emotion in you. It blows my mind.

Melissa said...

"It took me a full week to read the first 100 pages. I read the remaining 400 pages in 36 hours. I exaggerate not."

Everyone I've talked to about this book, myself included, had a similar experience. I found myself saying, "C'mon, who cares about the details of the dress she's wearing? Get on with the story!"

*Spoiler alert*
I totally sobbed like a baby at the end of the movie. I have never cried that hard from a film! Somehow the book didn't have the same effect on me.

Karla with a K said...

Ok, Erin. Now I know I totally have to read this book (then see the movie sometime. Yea, haven't seen it yet.)

Thanks for the sleeper warning about the beginning. If I know it'll get better, I'll know to keep going.

Kristi - don't you hate it when you PAY to go to sleep?