Written by: Ian McEwan
Year Published: 2001
Well, the main reason for reviewing this book is two things: 1) I felt my blog needed to have some book reviews among many posts that defend America(Somewhat) and the generalization that our movies suck as well as describe my hate for backlash. While this may not necessarily a bad thing, I needed some variety. 2) I wanted everyone to know this: Atonement is a damn good book. It is so great, it's riveting and it is also without a doubt a beautiful and haunting tale that truly will spellbind you. I'm not making any of this up. Seriously.
If you haven't seen/read or heard about the story, it's simple and at the same time complex. It starts out as a book about an imaginative and mischievous girl, Briony, who observes a brief moment between her sister, Cecelia and their poor hired hand, Robbie. We later learn that this alleged naughty businesses is not at all what it seems, a recurring theme in the book. Briony wants to perform her play, but unfortunately her cousins are less then enthusiastic about acting. She also feels left out and ignored while the people at her house await the arrival of her older brother, Leon. So curiosity kills the cat, and then Briony decapitates the cat and all hell breaks loose. She is nosy, she is very unlikable, frequently through out the book and movie I wanted to slap her for being so foolish and stupid. It is because of her spying on Robbie and Cecelia and their behaviors that cause Briony to accuse Robbie of a horrible crime and let the culprit walk free.
Though it might not seem like it, Atonement, at least as I saw it, was not a romance movie as the film has been marketed out to be. It is a story about making mistakes, getting caught up in the wrong situations and having to repent for what we have done. It might not be as dire or as life threatening as seen in Atonement, but still, it does best describe what happens when lies and accusations are thrown at each other and what happens when we get in too over our heads.
Above all, Atonement is more or less a lesson. With rich and vivid language, Mcewan creates a scenic and spectacular story come to life. The majority of Atonement relies on the internal thoughts of the characters in the story. This not only enhances the reading, but it also makes the reader truly cherish the words. In the course of reading it, I felt intense emotions for the characters and towards the actions they did. Though you couldn't help but feel remorse for Briony once she gets older, but when you look back and think about how awful her accusation was, you start to realize that she has learned from her mistakes the hard way. And now, it is too late to change things.
Though not a long read, Atonement is a gem of a book. By combining a story that is about love lost by a cruel misunderstanding it also brings together a book about forgiveness and also about the horrors of war and how it tears people's lives apart. I do not want to overindulge on Mcewan, but I am definitely looking forward to reading another one of his haunting books.