Sunday, September 15, 2013

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Atonement by Ian McEwan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is so uneven, it's almost like three different books in one.

Book one is the first 50%. It's well-written but tedious. I felt like it should have been relegated to a 15 page prologue, this is not the good part of the book, yet it takes up the most room, page-wise. Another story of another wealthy British family set after the first World War. I've read so many, it was during my reading of The Stranger's Child that I first realized I had had enough. I don't care what the wealthy did, if I want to read anything about that period it would be the story of common people or the poor or something else other than life in a stately home! Enough!
It was for a book club, so I kept reading.

This part is slightly redeemed by the smooth, well-flowing writing style, so 2 out of 5.

Part two is the gold, it only lasts about 30%. The main focus in this section is the Second World War and it's so vivid, so wonderful, it's like you're there. I've never heard this war described so well. I read every word of this part, it was fantastic, five out of five. If he can write this well, why did the author mess about with the kids games of part one?

Part three is an unnecessary tack on that runs about 20%. It's a jump forward to modern day that really stretches credulity and ends with the message that only an author could understand the plot of the book. It seemed elitist, like the author was throwing a party for himself and his work. Way to go, good job, he told himself. I could practically see the old age make-up in the movie version as I read it, ugh. 1 out of 5

Add it up and you somehow get three.

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