Everyone raved about the book Atonement by Ian McEwan. On the front cover, the New York Times says it is “A tour de force … Every bit as affecting as it is gripping.” On the back cover, Newsweek calls it “Luminous … Atonement is brilliant.” The San Francisco Chronicle says it is “Lush, detailed, vibrantly colored and intense.”

I can go with lush, detailed (oh my God, is it detailed!), and vibrantly colored. Intense, not especially. Brilliant? Maybe I need a shot of culture and a kick in the imagination, but I don’t see brilliant here. In fact, it bored me half to death – it put me in a coma, which is why my posting has been sparse.

I really liked the way he developed one character. He dropped one story-line completely, left out an explanation (much less a motivation) for one story-line and botched the ending so badly that I couldn’t even throw the book across the room for satisfaction – I just shook my head and whimpered. 480 excruciating pages … for that? If I ever meet Mr. McEwan, I will ask him how he plans to atone for Atonement.

Maybe the movie is better – and it probably has a different ending. I’m not sure I can sit through two hours of angst only to get to a terrible ending, even if it meant I could look at Keira Knightley the entire time.

I could always watch Pirates of the Caribbean. Again.


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