Thursday, February 28, 2008

"Atonement," by Ian McEwan

With the movie being released March 18, I decided that I needed to read the book as soon as possible. And after dear Laura Llew gave it such a glowing review, how could I resist picking up a copy?

Unfortunately, the first third of the book was so bogged down with narration that I had to force myself just to continue reading. Obviously I love details, as shown by the title of my regular blog. But do I really need to read five pages about the mother's migraine, how she keeps it at bay, what she thinks about during her secluded hours while keeping it at bay and what she doesn't think about because it might make her pain worse? I don't need more than a brief account of the minor characters' histories unless it is absolutely crucial to the plot. Which most of it wasn't.

Then! Oh, then it got so much better! I couldn't stop reading. It was moving, it was haunting, it was deliciously painful.

However, the momentum didn't last. The ending left me feeling flat and resentful that I'd even read the book at all. I will still see the movie, as it is sure to be visually stunning. I'm still disappointed by the book, though.

3.5 stars (because the middle had such promise)


petullant said...

I spoke to a friend the other night who said he almost put the book down over the chapter about the headache.

I loveloveloved it though. And the end is what made the book for me. I'm sorry it left you flat. Aww. I got Saturday but haven't started it yet.. hmm

April said...

I didn't like the ending because I just felt tricked. "Ha ha, reader! The last half of the book is a lie! Surprise!" To me, that's shoddy writing. I wonder if it will be the same in the movie. Have you seen it yet?

I hope "Saturday" is better.