I really had hope of liking this book, but it just did not work out at all.
Genre: Contemporary, (a bit of sci-fi dystopia so small it shouldn’t be mentioned in fear of getting your hopes up)
Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.
Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.
Made by Faber & Faber Audio. The narrator was great, slipping you right into that british boarding school with lots of descriptive language. Hearing it out loud does make my annoyances with the writing more prominent as the book progressed. The voice given to the boy Tommy was so annoying and douchey as well, and made it subconsciously hard to like him. Took me a while to figure that one out. It’s a good audiobook, if you would prefer that.
three out of five stars
This was promoted to me as with an dystopian vibe, or at least set in an alternate reality where things are pretty similar to ours, but not quite. At the very least – that there would be mystery! WRONG. It’s as british boarding school children without parents and a few questions that I’ve ever gotten, but without the curiousity to figure out the answers because they all have a great time generally. And then it moves over to other settings as they grow up, but mostly it’s not that different from like a very good orphanage program. I feel tricked, and almost gave it two stars just out of that.
My thoughts about one hour into this book:
I often think that books should come with a “how it will make you feel”, as it’s just as or more important than the synopsis. The beginning of this book was pure mimring about the past, someone telling a story of how things once was with a mystery of why attached to it. And that was perfect for my mood. It was spring break, which for Norway means everyone that is able to is at cabins at the mountain and I was sitting outside just beneath them, the first week of real sun and warmth allowing it. I had time, even for a slow-paced book.
Me halfway into the book:
I’m desperate for this pace to get quicker, someone tell me if any mystery or society-critical questions is coming up at all. I’m so bored.
Me after finishing the book:
It just never delivered.
There’s lots of reviews I saw that was like “oh no, don’t read reviews it might spoil the mystery!” WHAT MYSTERY? This is not the book for anyone who have read fantasy or sci-fi.
Or even watched Orphan Black. That is one tv series that takes the concept this plot completely misses to act out. This is one of the books that thinks it’s smart, without really coming up with any critical questions or message about society. The writing of the plot had one goal – to leave out as much as possible – so that it would have enough secrets to be interpreted as a mystery. And the “kids” get to ask all their questions at the end to their former teachers, about everything that’s kept from the characters and more so the reader, and it just isn’t satisfying or revealing at all. Overall, I liked the actual writing, although I don’t think it’s everyone’s taste as the main character is really observant and telling the story like a fake memoir.
The beginning is lovely, but then the plot never unfolds with the message it claims to have and the “mystery” doesn’t hold up.