Book Review: The Children Act by Ian McEwan

The Children ActWhat’s it about?

Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge, presiding over cases in the family court. She is renowned for her fierce intelligence, exactitude and sensitivity. But her professional success belies private sorrow and domestic strife. There is the lingering regret of her childlessness, and now, her marriage of thirty years is in crisis.

At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: for religious reasons, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, Adam, is refusing the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents share his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely held faith? In the course of reaching a decision Fiona visits Adam in hospital – an encounter which stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.

My thoughts

This was our book club choice for November and having not read Ian McEwan before, I was looking forward to trying a new author. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s one I’ll read again.

In this book, Ian McEwan dissects a judicial career alongside a long-standing marriage over 5 loooong chapters. Fiona has really made it in her career but at what personal cost and sacrifices? In between the falling apart of her marriage, we’re privy to the cases that she is presiding over, all of which have some kind of moral or ethical dilemma; any of which would have made for interesting reading but McEwan concentrates on the case of a teenage Jehovah’s Witness refusing a blood transfusion and the relationship she forms with the patient and the professional dilemma that ensues.

It’s a highly intelligent, well written novel but it all felt so cold and clinical, and I found it really hard to warm to any of the characters. I found Jack to be completely arrogant, expecting that his wife of considerable years would be ok with him going off to have an affair. They were both as equally as frustrating in that they couldn’t communicate with each other and therefore their marriage lacked the passion they both still seemed to crave.

There are some parts that I would question the believability – I wasn’t entirely convinced that a judge of Fiona’s standing would visit the hospital and she would engage in the singing that she did – a minor point though.

Overall, an interesting view into judicial matters from an author who obviously knows his stuff, but slow and boring in places as it concentrates heavily on description; however it made for a very lively and interesting reading group discussion.

Get the book Kindle | Hardback

Connect with the author, Ian McEwan

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WWW Wednesday (November 19)

Hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading and is open to all to participate. Why not join in and let us know what you’re reading this week…

www_wednesdays4

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

The Children ActI’m currently reading The Children Act by Ian McEwan for my regular book club but I’m also planning on trying out a new book club at the end of this month who are also reading the same book. Two birds, one stone and all that.

Well, so far, it’s been a pretty slow start with quite a mixed up plot which skips about all over the place, so who knows how this is going to pan out!

What did you recently finish reading?

The Way You Look TonightI’ve recently finished reading The Way You Look Tonight by Richard Madeley which was a good read. Probably not one for die hard crime fans but a good read nonetheless. Review will follow soon.

 

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Prophecy of BeesMy next read will the The Prophecy of Bees by RS Pateman. This is Rob’s second book, following the chilling psychological thriller The Second Life of Amy Archer and one that I’m really looking forward to reading.

 

 

  Have you read any of these, or want to recommend one for my next read?

WWW Wednesday (November 12)

Hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading and is open to all to participate. Why not join  in and let us know what you’re reading…

www_wednesdays4

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

The Way You Look TonightJust picked this one back up after having to put aside for a short while whilst reading my book club read. I’ve been looking forward to getting back in to it.

 

 

What did you recently finish reading?

The Man Who Climbed Out of the WindowI finished reading this at the weekend for my book club.

Parts were as expected, I felt it to be a similar type of read to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Woman Who Went to Bed For a Year. It did have some humerous moments, but also read like a history book. Review to follow shortly.

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Prophecy of BeesThe Children ActOne of these I think – The Prophecy of Bees is published 20th November and I’d like to read and promote before then. The Children Act is being discussed at a different book club at the end of the month that I might start going to.

 

 Have you read any of these, or want to recommend one for my next read?

WWW Wednesday (October 1)

Welcome to WWW Wednesday hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading. Open to all to participate why not join in…
www_wednesdays4

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Dear ThingFinally got around to starting to read my book club book for this month!

Already a third in and quite enjoying it, I’m assuming there’s going to be some good points for a good discussion.

 

 

What did you recently finish reading?

SomeoneElsesSkinI’m not quite sure how I feel about this book at the moment. It took me 10 days to read it, double my usual read time.

 

 

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Not sure yet…one of these maybe

Spare Brides The Children Act The Third Wife

 

 

 

 

Any recommendations of what I should pick?