I went into this book knowing next to nothing about it– and you should too.
Never Let Me Go is one of those novels that is achingly beautiful, so much so that it almost hurts to read. At the same time, the prose is like butter, easily sliding from page to page. It’s a book you can binge, but it’s also a book that you read 20 pages and then sit down because you need to think about its implications. It is heavy in topic but light in prose which makes it the perfect book to curl up with in this post-holiday season.
As I said before, I went into this book knowing almost nothing about it, as my friends on Goodreads informed me I should too. I knew its genre, and that was it (spoiler— I knew it had dystopia elements to it). I almost wish I hadn’t known even that, because the reveal is so slow and so natural. While you know something is off almost immediately, it takes quite some time for you to realize why nothing feels right. What I love most is that it isn’t a big reveal, or plot twist. Kathy, the narrator, speaks to you as though she is telling an oral story: she assumes you know the world she lives in as she does. Yes, she explains things to you (“I don’t know if it was like this for you…” type of explanations), but the only time we get true details about this world is when we see how they affected or altered young Kathy. In a way, then, we get the sense that Kathy is not telling the story for our benefit, but for her own. It is not a story about society, but a story about relationships, and why we belief or accept the things we do. It’s a story about love, and the many forms it takes. It’s a story that shows how our childhoods and our upbringings entirely shape our future.The ending is not optimistic, but nor is it pessimistic: it’s simply a story of how life is for these people. And that is what makes it beautiful.
Read this novel. Do not read a summary, do not spoil yourself. Read it. Surround yourself with it. Think about it and wonder: is this story really so much different than your own?
5 cassette tapes out of 5.