Thursday, January 28, 2010


Title: Atonement
Author: Ian McEwan
Reading level: All
Paperback: 480
ISBN #: 038572179X
Received From: I bought it @ The Book Rack
Publisher: Random House Inc.
Group Genre: Romance/Historical Fiction
Cover: A-
Overall: C

"On a hot summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a
moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the
son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp
of adult motives–together with her precocious literary gifts–brings about a
crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions
through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century."

To preface : I really wanted to like this book! Unfortunately I wasn't as thrilled as the reviews put it in the jacket.

The story is told primarily through the eyes of three people Briony, her sister Cecilia, and Robbie Turner (their fathers ward/gardener). And the novel is broken up into three parts before the crime, the war, and the return home. Basically Briony catches a lovers tryst between her sister and Robbie. With her wild childish imagination she creates a crime and a monster (in Robbie) so unspeakable. The she relates this to the parents who promptly separate the too through some drastic manners. The story goes on to show how each live their lives separated by a child's mischievous lie. And how they are to reunite if only the truth will be revealed.

Like I said I really wanted to like this book. However; the first chapter is soooo long-winded. It is very hard to get through and I had to put the book down a couple of times because I couldn't keep reading. Briony comes off as a selfish attention-seeking brat which is kind of annoying at the beginning. And you feel so sad for Cecilia and Robbie, you just wish the lies had never happened. But the book finally picks up during part two. The war kind of "kicks the author in the butt" and hurries things along. Also the authors writing style can be confusing from time to time. He jumps from places and time quite quickly (although he drags on in between). And at some points I didn't know which characters mind I was in. For instance I read an entire page until Brionys name finally appeared ( I thought Cecilia was recounting her day oops).

But I loved the plot and really wished the author had put as much effort into the first part as he did the last two. I'm thinking the movie version might actually be better (I know, I know scandalous to say). But it might help speed up events in the first half and keep the reader/watchers interest. I'm actually going to rent the movie tomorrow night so I'll put up a post about my thoughts on book vs. movie probably later tomorrow.

LOL=Lots Of Love


  1. Good to know what you thought of this. I've never read the book or seen the movie, but the summary has always sounded interesting. Shame that it doesn't actually read as good as the plot suggests. I still might look into reading it just to see what I think of it. Great review!

  2. Thanks for the review!!!
    Don't you hate that kind of beginning?

  3. Every time I read a negative review of this book I am made all the more glad that I'm not alone in my distaste for it.


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