Never Let Me Go | Book Review

I have so many books sitting on my bookshelf that need to be read. That is one reason I am holding back on buying books for a while. I want to read so many books but I need to read the ones on my shelf. And I still remember the story behind every book on my shelf. But I have had this book on my shelf for the longest time and the only reason I bought it was because it was free. I saw the trailer for the movie and since then, I have wanted to see the movie. The only thing is, I have to read the book first. And I have now done that. So I am bringing you this spoiler free review of Never Let Me Go because why not. 

Never Let Me Go

Title: Never Let Me Go

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro

Publisher: Vintage International

Published: March 2006

Pages: 288 (First Vintage International Edition)

From the acclaimed author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, a moving new novel that subtly reimagines our world and time in a haunting story of friendship and love.
As a child, Kathy – now thirty-one years old – lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory.
And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed – even comforted – by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham’s nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about their childhood–and about their lives now.
A tale of deceptive simplicity, Never Let Me Go slowly reveals an extraordinary emotional depth and resonance – and takes its place among Kazuo Ishiguro’s finest work.

Kazuo Ishiguro

About the Author: Kazuo Ishiguro (カズオ・イシグロ or 石黒 一雄) is a British novelist of Japanese origin. His family moved to England in 1960. Ishiguro obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Kent in 1978 and his Master’s from the University of East Anglia’s creative writing course in 1980. He became a British citizen in 1982. He now lives in London.
His first novel, A Pale View of Hills, won the 1982 Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. His second novel, An Artist of the Floating World, won the 1986 Whitbread Prize. Ishiguro received the 1989 Man Booker prize for his third novel The Remains of the Day. His fouth novel, The Unconsoled, won the 1995 Cheltenham Prize. His latest novel is The Buried Giant, a New York Times bestseller.
His novels An Artist of the Floating World (1986), When We Were Orphans (2000), and Never Let Me Go (2005) were all shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.


Kathy is 30 something-year-old women who can’t help but think of past memories when she happens to reunite with friends from the past. They aren’t always the best memories either. As a graduated of Hailsham, she has been raised to believe so many things. But once she is out in the real world and life is not as easy as she thought it would be, these memories just begin to fly right into play. 

When I first began this book, I actually had a little trouble getting into the writing style of the novel. It was just so different from some of the other books I have read that it took me a little while to understand where the book was heading but I really enjoyed it at the end. The writing is told by Kathy while she is 31 but she is telling the book in the past. It sort of ages as the book continues on through the book. It was also really hard for me to get used to the fact that the book was written by someone in another country. I rarely read books that don’t have an American background or an American author. I wish it wasn’t something I did but it is. But after a while, maybe 50 pages or so, I couldn’t help but love the story and just want to read it. 

Once you look past all of that, this book is written fairly well. There were times that I would have to go back and reread a certain part just because I was so confused what was going on. Kazuo Ishiguro’s writing is beautiful. I just don’t think this was the right book for me to read first. I thought it was thought out well and very original since it was romantic but dark at the same time in one tiny dystopian novel. There were times I just didn’t enjoy what was going on but that was just because I had problems with some of the characters. 

I went into this book knowing basically nothing. I sort of enjoyed that about this book. I feel like if you go into this book knowing a bunch of stuff (one reason it is spoiler free), the book would be spoiled for you. There is just so much inside of this book that you just need to read for yourself. And you might think this is going to be a fast read but in reality, it really isn’t. It takes a little while to grasp the message and what all is actually happening in the book. 

The characters were one of my main issues with the whole book. We slowly get to know some of the characters through the book and it is told through Kathy’s mind but I wish we knew more about other characters. We only know what Kathy is talking about. But I found Kathy to be annoying at times to be totally honest. I don’t think Kathy really realized this but she was the mean girl of the school and she was the one who caused most of the problems. She was just way too noisy for me. She needed to know everything and I just didn’t like it. Yes, the book is written about her memories but somehow she made any conversation with others relate to herself.  

I didn’t think that I would finish this book in tears. I did end up feeling attached to this book. I felt like I was part of this book when I finished it. I had tears in my eyes through parts of this book, either good and bad. Yeah, there were some bad ones. But my emotions were all over the place while I was reading this book. I wanted to through it against a wall, or just curl up in a ball and just read for the rest of my life. It was a total rollercoaster ride. 

Overall, I have to give this book a 3 out of 5. The book was good but it wasn’t my favorite. After reading the book, I still want to go and watch the movie because I have been wanting to see it for so long. If you are one of those people who is looking for a novel that takes place in the past and switches between the present and the past, this is your book. If you aren’t used to the British way of words, this book might take you a little while to get into. 

Have you read this book? Have you read any of his other works? What did you think about them? Are you into books like this? Did you prefer the movie or the book? Have you seen the movie? What were your thoughts about the movie? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! 

Happy Reading,

3 thoughts on “Never Let Me Go | Book Review

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