Review – Atonement

Atonement  by Ian McEwan

From the back cover –

On a summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses the flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant.  But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives and her precocious imagination bring about a crime that will change all their lives, a crime whose repercussions Atonement follows through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century.

My thoughts –

Ultimately, I have to say that this was a very excellent book.  I was very put off at first by the extremely slow start to it, but looking back I think McEwan had to really establish the characters and let the reader get to know them so that when the “crime” happened, it would be all the more important in the readers’ minds.  Even with the slow start, I started to enjoy the plot by about page 50 or so, which made the slowness a lot easier to get through.  I also became immersed in the incredible writing, so once I got used to the way the book was written, I was just loving and savoring every word.  I have to say that there was a chunk of the book in the middle (it has to do with Robbie, for those that haven’t read the book I’m not going to spoil anything, but for those that have, you probably know which part I’m talking about) that I was very bored by.  The whole subject matter is something I don’t ever enjoy reading about, and I didn’t feel connected to any of the minor characters in that section, which made it harder to get through.  But once that part faded out, I was back into the book, engrossed in the storyline and the characters once again.

I finished this book a few days ago and I’m still not sure how I feel about the ending.  Obviously I’m not going to say what happened, but I can’t decide if the way McEwan decided to end things was helpful to the story, it being such an open-ended way of doing things and all, or if it was kind of a cop-out, like McEwan couldn’t decide what he wanted to do with it so he chose to end it the way he did.  I’m still not sure.  I think I liked the ending but… I’m just questioning it still.

Anyways.  This was a pretty excellent book, even though I did have minor issues with it, I’m still very glad I read it, and I’ll definitely picking up more work by McEwan in the future.

8 stars.

Also reviewed by: Caribou’s mom, Thoughts of Joy, Trish’s Reading Nook, Care’s Online Book Club, Educating Petunia, Books for Breakfast, Sadie-Jean’s Book Blog, The Written Word , Lynne’s Little Corner of the World, Books and Cooks, and Musings of a Bookish Kitty.

7 thoughts on “Review – Atonement”

  1. Great review Heather – I read this recently (my review is here) and I would agree with all you said. It starts REALLY slow, but it worth hanging in through the book.

  2. I heard so many people who needed time to get into the story, but after a bit they loved it. I had the same problem. It took me a bit to get used to the story and the writing, but after that I raced through the book. Glad you liked Atonement!

  3. I tried reading this book not too long ago but gave up. I might give it another go. At least I know I’m not the only one who thought the beginning was slow. Good to know that it gets much better. Between the book and the movie, I was wondering what all the fuss was about. Thanks for the review.

  4. This is one I’ve been a little hesitant to read because of the very mixed reviews I’ve read on it. The story sounds good though so I may give it a try after I get though my giant TBR pile.

  5. I have this one checked out from the library right now and I’m really hoping that it won’t go back unread although there are so many other books I keep reading before I get to this one. I’m glad to hear that you liked it.

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