If you are here and have read or seen, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, you are most likely to get what I am talking about. If you haven’t read or seen the book/movie I highly suggest you go to the nearest Barnes & Noble and purchase the book and obviously read it. Then rent the film, and engross yourself in its symbolism. I will begin with talking about the book because books are and always will be better than the films.
Quick synopsis of the plot for all you curious creatures that have not engaged in its beauty quite yet, and I won’t give away any
major spoilers, but there are some in this…. you have been warned.
It is the near future. Doctors and scientists have discovered the cure for the incurable diseases in the world. They bring organ donations to an entire new level. Our main character of Ishiguro’sbook is Kathy H., who is a young girl that questions the system, subdues all possibilities, and most importantly cares for other. She is among multiple others that meant to die at a terribly young age due to the fact that they are all organ donors. Kathy is taught this idea with her friends Tommy and Ruth. They all begin fresh at a lovely boarding school called Hailsham, that teaches them how to take this reality in. Ruth begins, at a young age, caring for her loved ones like Tommy and Ruth. Before they were all friends, people picked on Tommy for his stupidity in art class and his outrageous tantrums. Odd mysteries and rumors lurk around corners as they grow older. Confusing things like why they were expected to make art as children and to give it away to an odd woman, or why other donors tell them that they can postpone their deaths to the fact that they are Hailsham students.
Getting out of their adolescent lives, they have grown into responsible young adults that can manage on their own. Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth move from school to cottages where they meet other donors that have similar issues with the system. Tommy and Ruth now have a relationship, and Kathy begins to come to the conclusion that she is an unwholesome third wheel, trying to keep the peace. Kathy even begins to explore her sexual nature and discovers a dirty side within herself. This and other problems cause the three friends to part, and walk their own ways.
Kathy finds herself working as a carer. She takes care of other donors from all around the country, not only from Hailsham. While being content and living a relaxed short-term career as a care taker, she finds Ruth a few years later, seeing that she is in her second donation of organs and wants to care for her. Recollecting their years together they question their times at Hailsham, their lives as donors, and their relationships with each other and Tommy. Somehow all three end up together again, but only for a short time. Tommy and Kathy begin their well awaited relationship and pursue a deferral.
I won’t dare give away any more! I already said a good portion of the book, and yes I know this technique. It is used by some pesky English teachers out there in the world. But some immense symbolism and parallels to modern-day society grow and prosper in this work. Here is the analytical part of this writing.
I love the whole idea behind an unfair and short-lived life. Throughout the entire book, I saw multiple characters yearn for something bigger or better. Whether it come down to a simple job to endure with, someone to love and hold onto in hard times, or even a longer life… all of characters exhibit these ideas. In reality, these donors hardly have anything. They are put into the world to provide life insurance for folk. That is all. And I am failing to mention something vitally important, but read the book… you’ll see what I mean. Kind of like that film, “The Island”? In a sad way, they are somewhat treated like creatures by certain folk like Keffers; he was the cottage care taker and disdained them in some ways, but in other cared in a weird master sort of sense. Even Miss Emily, the Hailsham headmistress, wants to give them the lesser of the few evils and provide a good short life. But there still is that idea of a master and how she must put them both as children and adults into their right, and unfortunate place. One last repeated motif in the book is the sea. In a couple of parts of the book they group ventures out to the coast to find something that was lost, or never really evident in there lives. They go to Norfolk to search for Ruth’s original, but really that plan fails. Instead Tommy and Ruth stumble upon her favorite CD as a child, “Never Let Me Go” by Judy Bridgewater. Another time they take a trip to one of the many remote coasts in Britain and find a wrecked boat/ship stuck in the sand. That whole sense of discovering something that was once missed or never seen in that light makes me happy, and it goes along with the sea because water gives and takes things away in a literal and metaphorical sense.
I give the book a definite 4.5/5 stars! For the movie… 3.5/5 stars. And yeh, you might call me generous… but I rate it on how much I seriously enjoyed it. The book hooked me in from page one! The film… huh, it was pretty well done truth be told. As far as literate movies go… this one takes the cake! Mark Romanek read the book… and clearly had a good sense for who or what belonged! OH. And a super cool highlight on the film; there are three parts to the book; Kathy’s childhood at Hailsham, her short but well enlightening time as a young responsible adult at the cottages, and finishing off with life as a career. The film transitioned each of these parts with colors fading the image off the screen into a stale yet ever so bright color. Such a sad story…. enjoy at your own extent.
Comments are appreciated as well.