I love me a good book recommendation, so when my darling sis waxed lyrical about Kazuo Ishiguro's 'Never Let Me Go', I decided to invest my sweet time in it. She warned me in advance two things - firstly that it was a slow-burner, and that it would make me cry like a little girl. And oh my days, was she right....
The book tells the tale about three youngsters - Kathy, Ruth and Tommy - who have a seemingly idyllic life attending an English boarding school named Hailsham. However, it soon becomes clear that these are no ordinary kids - they are, in fact, clones bred purely to donate their vital organs in later life. Hailsham students don't study or learn social graces, as they will never grow to need them, instead they are kept at peak health in order to maximise their use once they begin to 'donate'. Once a student has donated four of their vital organs, they 'complete'... and I'm sure you can imagine what this is a euphemism for. Despite having thoughts, feelings and ambitions, they are constantly reminded of their fate and they unquestioningly accept it.... until they inevitably find themselves in a rather complicated love triangle.
The book is written in a deliberately flat and simplistic tone, and the first part reads like an almost Enid Blyton-esque account of school life. The way the narrator, Kathy, so passively accepts her horrific fate somehow makes it all the more devastating. For the last forty or so pages, I had a steady supply of tears trickling down my cheeks, and I am pretty heartless - the only books thus far that have managed to get any crying out of me are Harry Potter books! So you can imagine my astonishment when, upon finishing the book, I found that my cheeks, hair and pillow were soaked. If it managed to prise some emotion out of me, that's got to say something about the quality of this wonderful story.
So if you are feeling particularly brave, indulgent or in the mood to contemplate your own mortality, I highly recommend you give this book a whirl. Just make sure you are not in public when you near the end.