I’m a subscriber to so many different sites (some intentionally, some not). Normally I hit “delete” after a half second scan of each email, but sometimes one will catch my eye and remain in my inbox until I give it some attention. A week or so ago, I received “101 Reads for a Deserted Island” from Daily Candy. Sign me up! A few I’ve read and loved (The Imperfectionists, Great Expectations, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Corrections), a few I’ve read and honestly didn’t love (The Help, 100 Years of Solitude), but many more are totally new to me.

I picked up one of the books on the list, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, and read it cover to cover this past weekend, thinking that I’d have to rent the movie soon as well. At 11:15 am on Saturday, I checked the TV schedule — just in case — and would you believe it? The movie was playing once in the next few weeks…at 11:30 am that very day. Record.

I thought the book was really interesting. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s basically a narration by a young woman who reflects on her childhood and how it’s brought her to her current place in life. Much of the book centers around an English boarding school and the children who attend — children who come from unconventional beginnings and have a very specific, somewhat disturbing destiny.

But the movie…okay, I will admit, it was a lot of fun to follow the book almost immediately with the big-screen version. I actually found that all three of the main adult characters (played by Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightly and Andrew Garfield) did a great job. But I felt badly for all the people who must have walked into this movie and left with absolutely NO CLUE what it was about. I think this might be one of those books that’s just too hard to condense for a film version? There was one awkward scene where a teacher basically explained the whole plot out of nowhere, because there wasn’t enough time to build it up any other way.

Final verdict? Read the book! If you watched the movie, read the book!

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