“I hate telling people I’m reading this,” one of my friends told me, holding up a beat up paperback, “the title makes it sound like some awful romance novel.” That was the sentenced that hooked me. Never Let Me Go does sound, as my friend so eloquently described it as an, “awful romance novel.” Strangely however, it is not at all a romance novel.
The title itself comes from a Judy Bridgewater song, Never Let Me Go. The main character, Kathy, is obsessed with the song because it seems to her like a song a mother would sing to a child. This is so significant to Kathy because she is a clone, so she did not have a mother and is unable to have children. It’s the small details like this song that make Never Let Me Go so incredible. When Ishiguro is describing Hailsham, the boarding school Kathy grew up at, he talks about seemingly the most insignificant events. By doing this, he makes you feel like you truly understand the school, almost like you graduated with Kathy and her friends Ruth and Tommy.
The story itself is about Kathy and her relationships- particularly with Ruth and Tommy. The three of them are all clones who grew up at Hailsham. Their experiences while they are there set the stage for the rest of the novel as the group go about their lives. Their relationships with eachother may change throughout the years- Ruth is romantically involved with Tommy, Kathy and Tommy have some unacted upon romantic tension, but the bond between the group remains strong.
Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go is stunning novel about innocence, love, and the experiences that shape our entire life. I read this book because my friend was complaining about how it was not just a terrible romance novel, but I came away from the novel with a much greater appreciation for the relationships I have and how they