From the 1001 Books List to my Pitcairn Hammock

Today’s book, the best thing I could quickly find in the Free Lending Library for my new Kindle Fire (yea, hubby!!!), was The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan (it’s on all three versions of the 1001 Books You Should Read Before You Die). This was one weird read and, at the same time, very simple and straightforward. On this one, Goodreads has little to offer in the way of a summary. I’ll give you the summary from Amazon and its quote from the Washington Post Book World (which I didn’t read until I’d written my review, but you will sense a theme…)

From Amazon: “In this tour de force of psychological unease–now a major motion picture starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Sinead Cusack–McEwan excavates the ruins of childhood and uncovers things that most adults have spent a lifetime forgetting–or denying. ‘Possesses the suspense and chilling impact of Lord of the Flies.’–Washington Post Book World.”

And my review: The Cement GardenThe Cement Garden by Ian McEwan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is strangely compelling at the same time that it makes you think “ewww.” If you ever wondered whether it would be ok just to leave a bunch of kids to fend for themselves without an adult around, this book will tell you what a bad plan it would be–in case Lord of the Flies hadn’t already given you the heads up. In this case the kids don’t hate each other. They love each other a bit too much. Like I said, “eww.” So the puzzle is what makes you keep reading and wanting to know what happens. It’s an easy book, full of spare prose. There is underlying tension–will the situation unravel around the kids, ending the world they have built for themselves? There is the fact that while much of it is disturbing, you are also saying to yourself, well, “they are really just trying to figure out how to get through this crisis…” You aren’t fully convinced by this argument, but no one is actually being malicious, exactly. You get the picture. It is an interesting, disturbing book.


About Beth Parks Aronson

I am Associate Professor of Psychology at Lamar University. Previously, I was a psychologist in private practice in Jenkintown, PA where I specialized in anxiety disorders and working with people living with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. I am a little addicted to good literature. Ok, a lot addicted.
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4 Responses to From the 1001 Books List to my Pitcairn Hammock

  1. inspirationalreads says:

    Hmmmm, I have obviously seen it on the list but not gone into reading up about what it was about. I quite like interesting and disturbing books (what this says about me I have no idea) and have enjoyed the one McEwan I have read (Enduring Love) so I might bump this up the TBR list. Thanks!

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