Book Review – Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Hello everyone,

Welcome to another book review. So some of you might have seen this movie that stars Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield, and Carey Mulligan. If you haven’t, I suggest you do but just a precaution, it’s pretty sad and sick when you think about it. That being said here we go!

Ishiguro, Kazuo. Never Let Me Go. Vintage Books. 2005. 288 p. 1400078776.

Genre: Dystopia/Science Fiction


All children should believe they are special. But the students of Hailsham, an elite school in the English countryside, are so special that visitors shun them and only by rumor and the occasional fleeting remark by a teacher do they discover their unconventional origins and their strange destinies. As children, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their students of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life, and for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special—and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.

Now, right from the beginning of the novel, you are introduced to what their “gifts” are. As you hear Kathy’s experience now as a carer, you realize that Hailsham was a very unique school that operated under strict and unethical circumstances. I really don’t want to spoil anything because there is a rather dark and unpleasant revelation in this novel so that is all I will give away. Ishiguro is a hauntingly beautiful, somber writer. He is able to twist words into the most beautiful phrases and I am left in awe. Especially after watching the movie, I was excited to read this book and I was not disappointed. There are so many emotions that you as a reader you feel while reading this book; it goes more into depth, obviously, about their “gift” and their destinies but it makes you wonder what if our world was like this. This book is of the dystopian genre but it’s not that stereotypical apocalyptic novel, instead it evaluates the futility of human lives. There’s betrayal, romance, and heart-wrenching revelations. The mystery of their gifts is hidden until it no longer matters and Ishiguro holds the reader’s interest long enough to impact the reader with the revelation of what it means to live especially with Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy’s experience with Hailsham.

Teaching Ideas:

I’m not sure I would teach this to students because honestly, it might mess them up. I would trust the input of a junior or senior in high school to read this novel. It would be interesting to read a research paper analyzing Hailsham’s tactics and what the overall message of this book would be and how our society reflects certain aspects of Hailsham. I would then have them analyze the structure of this novel and how Ishiguro introduces each character and the role they play in this novel.

Rating: 9/10

I hope you all enjoyed this book review! The last (but not really last) book review will be on…. Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Sàenz.



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