Monday, 19 January 2015

The Children Act

This one is a bit of a cheat as I've already finished it, but I've decided I want to try and do a post about every book I read this year so I thought I'd do one anyway!

Today I will be talking about The Children Act by Ian McEwan, which was released last year. I picked it up because one of my coursework texts for English this year is McEwan's On Chesil Beach and I wanted something else to compare it to and to see if I like McEwan's writing as a whole! 

The Children Act has two main story lines going through it, both based around a woman named Fiona, who is a family law judge. At the beginning of the novel, her husband proposes a change to their marriage that she does not agree with, and they separate for the majority of the novel. As a young reader, this storyline was interested for me as obviously I do not have any experience of how relationships and feelings change over long periods of time, and it's a situation that I would never have even thought to imagine for myself in the future.
The other storyline featured a 17 year old boy who needed a blood transfusion to save his life, but he and his family were refusing it due to being Jehovah's Witnesses, so the hospital were appealing to Fiona to rule that it had to be done. To me, I love reading about other religions and finding out more about them as I find that I am generally quite naive to other religions and their beliefs! This book explores the decision of whether it is more important to die for your faith or live for yourself in a very sensitive manner - I do not think it would offend anyone reading it, but that may be because it is not my religion being criticised? 
Another of the ideas it looks into is whether the age of someone is relevant in their abilities to make life/death decisions for themselves, and whether their views should be taken into consideration. 
I think this book would appeal to a wide range of people, as I personally really enjoyed it as a younger reader, but I can tell that it is aimed more towards an older age group who might perhaps relate to it a little more. It reminded me a lot of My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, though I did not find it nearly as sad - I think it was the feature of having young people who were so aware of the impact that their decisions would have on themselves and on others, yet they were still so confident on what they chose to do.

Have you read this book? Have you read any of McEwan's other novels? Let me know!


  1. I like the sound of this book and I feel the same about reading about other religions, I find it so interesting! How long is this book? Not in a 'how many pages are there' way but more in a how long did it roughly take you to read, does it last a long time or is it pretty quick?x

    1. Well there's 213 pages so it's a relatively small book, and I found it quite easy to get through! I had a day off sick and I managed to finish it in the day, if that helps? :) x


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