Book review: The Children Act

June 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

Note: I typed this out in word doc and came to 1400 words, it is as rambly and complaint-filled as the book itself and I thank anyone who would take the time to read it in its entirety (because I couldn’t phantom myself doing so)

On with the review! (oh and obviously. Spoilers.)

Bought The Children Act by Ian McEwan during the book sale in school last week and just finished it today in about three hours. I initially had high hopes for this book, especially because I had seen its hardcover version in Kino a few months back, but resisted buying it because I was waiting for the soft-cover to come out which would have been much less expensive (hard cover was going for like $30, a bit too exorbitant for my liking)

Though admittedly, hardcover books tend to be much more solid and the cover for this edition in hard cover was much nicer. (The soft cover is this weird gloomy snapshot of a woman’s legs as she walks down a rain-splattered side walk, while the hardcover has this deliciously minimalist baby blue colour with the single silhouette of a boy in mid-leap) Yes, I am one of those people who judges a book by whether its cover is aesthetically pleasing or not, in my defence, every one else does that with people.

ChildrenAct_Vintage             portfolioRandomHouse

I read the first chapter of the book while half-delirious from exhaustion at 12am on Friday night (after the first day of SMC) so that was probably part of the reason I really found it quite tedious and boring. Read the remaining chapters today, and while admittedly it got better in the middle where we were right in the crux of Adam’s case, it steadily went downhill from thereafter. Truth be told, I would have been left much happier with the novel, if it were to end at Fiona’s judgement on Adam’s case (which was right in the middle of the novel) or perhaps when she receives his first letter. However, it seems the storyline was strung out and squeezed for what it was worth (not much to be honest after the end of the case) and left much to be desired.

The parts of the story I did enjoy main revolved around Adam’s case and the court proceedings with the cross-examination of his parents and the grumpy doctor. I also enjoyed the interaction between Fiona and Adam when they met for the first time, when he was in the hospital. Fiona’s judgment was arguably the highlight of my reading experience, it was beautifully written.

(below the cut are the potentially more spoilerish bits, not that there is much to spoil anyway)

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