Never Let Me Go is my second novel by Ishiguro. I was so pleased with my first that I couldn’t wait to find another by him. I think I tried to read this one at least five years ago but didn’t make it very far. I’m glad that I returned to it because this might be a favorite for me this year.
Kathy is a young girl living in a boarding school. She has no parents and no siblings and has no way to find them. She and the other children at the school were created from labs in order to harvest their organs. They’re real people though – real flesh and blood, real feelings, real lives.
And Kathy makes that clear to us – she reminded me so much of myself as a teenager; she is worried about other children being bullied and gets annoyed by many of the same things I do. Copying others just to be liked? Come off it, now.
Kathy’s closest relationships are with Ruth and Tommy. Ruth is a “mean girl,” – they are best friends, but Ruth is constantly holding Kathy back. Ruth and Tommy are a couple, but everyone knows that Tommy and Kathy would make the better pair.
As adults, each donor has to spend some time as a “carer” – sort of a nurse that’s assigned different donors to make sure they are getting proper care at the hospital. Kathy spends a lot of time as a carer and comes across many of her old friends and rekindles old fires.
This book was beautifully written. The settings were like dreams – big, huge boarding schools and crumbling old farmhouses. I highlighted a ton of passages – it seemed like everything included was important and I just had to fit all of the puzzle pieces together. I love books like this. To me, his point was that what we do to people matters. Everyone is living their own lives and society’s choices affect real people. I know that this is one of those books that I’m going to be thinking about for a long time.