Book Review: The Children Act by Ian McEwan

The Children Act
By Ian McEwan
Releases 9/9/14
Provided free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 3 bones

Finish Time: A few nights.  I’ve sat on this one for a little too long, that I’ll apologize for the lack of specifics in this review.  It was an interesting read, but maybe too smart for me.  Not sure if that makes sense, but I felt like I was skimming over some of the parts that were just too high level for me (or didn’t hold my interest).  It lacked emotion for me too, so didn’t feel as invested as I do with other stories.  The author may have been going for that, but my taste (in books) is maybe for a bit more drama and more opportunities to stir up emotion in the reader, which I felt this book had it’s fair share to do so.

As you can read in the description below, the book centers around Fiona, a High Court judge, center of a controversial trial, all while her home life is falling apart.  You feel a bit for her there and maybe some of it can hit home, but again I felt it was very logically approached versus emotionally.  Which makes sense, in that Fiona is a judge (although it’s still her life).  And the current case she has to apply just those standards.  The decision is hers alone on whether a Jehovah’s Witness patient, 17 years old, should be allowed to make his own decision regarding his medical care.  Just a few weeks shy of 18 and complete power to make this decision, does he know the true ramifications of his decision?  It’s quite the debate and very interesting to see both sides of the debate and waiting on her ruling.

Once the ruling was made, I maybe was hoping for more of a riot…not saying by which side, but both were strongly supported/opposed, maybe opportunity for more drama?  And then I almost thought after the ruling was made, the story just moved along.  But thankfully it was brought back into focus and without spoilers, continued.  The ending, well, let’s just say it’s not how most books end and was a bit shocking.

I’d like to read other books by this author, because I have heard wonderful things.  But in my personal opinion, just what a review is, this book doesn’t have me shouting off the rooftops.  It was incredibly well written, contained a controversial subject matter, definitely kept the pages turning and reader engaged, just missing something for me.  I’d love to hear what you think though!

Description from Amazon:

Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge who presides 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: Adam, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, is refusing for religious reasons the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents echo his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely expressed faith? In the course of reaching a decision, Fiona visits Adam in the hospital—and encounter that stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.



Filed under Chapters

4 responses to “Book Review: The Children Act by Ian McEwan

  1. I love some of Ian McEwan’s books, Atonement is one of my favourites of all time but I’ve got a feeling from the reviews I’ve read that this isn’t one for me. Thanks for finally removing it from my TBR.

    • I hope that’s a good thing! I’m assuming your list is as long as mine – so glad I could help! It was just missing something – I hadn’t read too many other reviews but glad I wasn’t the only one! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  2. This one has got a lot of mixed reviews, but the premise seems interesting, and I look forward to reading this book and seeing where McEwan goes with the story. Thanks for the review~

    • Thanks for coming by! I’m actually glad to hear it has gotten mixed reviews. I heard such great things about his first/last book that I had high hopes for this. It is a very interesting subject matter and had me holding on to see what she decided!


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