Friday, November 13, 2009

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Atonement
by Ian McEwan
Publisher: Doubleday, 2001
ISBN: 9780385503952
351 pages
Genre: fiction
Source: Library audiobook


 Summary in a Sentence: 


Imaginative thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis, misinterpreting a scene between her older sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner, the housekeeper's son, later accuses Robbie of a crime she has no proof he committed and spends years trying to atone for her actions.

My thoughts: 

I usually make a point of not seeing a movie before I get a chance to read the book, but the opposite is true for my experience with McEwan’s Atonement. I rented the movie last summer from Netflix and as soon as the movie ended, I stared at the blank screen for a moment, blinked a couple of times in wonderment, and then hit play and watched it in its entirety a second time. Needless to say, I was completely entranced with the storyline and the cinematography. All of this is to say that after having such a wonderful experience with the movie adaptation, I began to worry that I’d ruined the possibility of having a good reading experience with the novel. I find it difficult to read a book after I’ve seen the movie since I have so many preconceived notions of the characters’ appearance and eccentricities locked into my head visually.

Never fear. I loved the book just as much as the movie. I actually listened to this book, mostly while driving, and I’m quite lucky I didn’t wind up in a ditch somewhere due to my complete inattention to my surroundings. I became so wrapped up in the characters, the story, and the heart wrenching consequences of one thirteen-year-old’s misinterpretation of a number of events and a rash decision. This was my first foray into Ian McEwan’s writing and it definitely won’t be the last. I was mesmerized with his writing style. The characters, especially that of the young Briony, were so well-drawn.  She is so frustratingly self-absorbed and narcissistic in the beginning of the novel, and her imaginative whims that so many young girls possess lead to such a catastrophic turn of events. I’ll say no more. You must read it for yourself.

I don’t often reread books anymore due to the sheer quantity of amazing novels out there that I must get my hands on, but I can definitely say this is a book I will revisit, perhaps a few times, in the future. 

Rating:  5/5


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17 comments:

Laura's Reviews said...

Great review - I love this book as well!! I thought the movie was a great adaptation of it. It's one of those rare books that keeps me thinking and wondering about it long after you've finished.

Mary said...

I thought the movie was ok but I really liked the book. Nice review.

Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

I loved the book too...and the movie was well done, however, the movie ending was jarring! The book ending was sooo much better.

Amanda said...

This must be a love or hate book, because I just hated it. I could barely sit through it after part 1 finished, I skimmed most of parts 2 and 3. Ugh.

Jess - A Book Hoarder said...

Yay! I am so glad you enjoyed the book even after seeing the movie. I am the same way about reading the book first but the DVD was on sale and had to buy it. The movie was so amazing I wanted to restart it right after it finished. The book is now on my list to read before I die and I am glad I didn't ruin it by watching the movie first.

Lezlie said...

Nice! This one is on my TBR "short list", so I'm really glad you liked it so much!

Lezlie

Kate said...

Great review! I also listened to the book while driving (8 hour road trip for work) and will always associate listening to it with driving through the bush. You have now inspired me to watch the movie as well.

bermudaonion said...

I really enjoyed this book, but have to admit that I struggled with the ending a little bit. Your review is fantastic!

Andrea said...

Great review. I'll have to check it out.

unsub said...

Knowing you, I can see you swerving in the road while listening to this.

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

haha...yeah. I swerve even when I'm not literarily distracted :)

CJR said...

Oh, good! One of my good friends hated the book and the movie but I think it's because she hated Briony so much. I've seen the flick and have the book on my TBR list. After your review, I'll be reading it as soon as I can!

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I'm always annoyed when people say they hate a book because they don't like a character. The whole point sometimes is to not like the character. If the author can conjure such strong feelings in me, that means he/she is a talented writer! I hope you enjoy the book :)

Jo-Jo said...

I also have problems reading a book after seeing the movie, but I am going to be trying that myself when I read The Time Traveler's Wife. I also loved Atonement.

Anna said...

I tried reading this book awhile back, but I couldn't get into it. I think it was my mood. Maybe I'll give it another try.

I hope it's okay that I linked to your review here.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Greg Zimmerman said...

Very interesting...I read the book several years before the movie. Loved the book, despised the movie. I wonder if it's something about the sequence...Hmmm...

Veens said...

Well Lovely review. I have this one in my pile, and I am sure I will get to it and the movie next :)

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