The novel and movie Never Let Me Go are about those volatile times in England that we like to call the 1980s. Yes, as we learn, the 80s had an organ harvesting program that harvested organs from clones. I am actually not sure why the Author, Kazuo Ishiguro placed the events of the story in the past. I have seen the novel called dystopian, but I don’t really agree with that definition. Most people, not in the organ donor program, live happy, non inhibited lives.
The novel was very well written and takes place from the perspective of Kathy. We follow Kathy through her childhood as she befriends Ruth and Tommy. Ruth is super manipulative and Kathy is weak enough that she allows herself to be manipulated by her for most of the story. It is pretty obvious that Kathy loves Tommy right from the very start.
The characters grow, but not as much as you would expect from a novel that covers the span of twenty-something years. This might be due to the sheltered way in which they grew up. They do grow, but they never seem to lose the innocence of children.
Two major ideas are presented in Never Let Me Go. The first is “what makes a human human. As the children are all clones, do they matter. Are they real people. The characters struggle with the idea of having originals and it seems that individually they come to a consensus that their originals were probably not normal members of society. The second idea explored was that of sacrifice. Most donors where able to donate about three times before completing. That is three lives exchanged for the one and I am sure when a donor did complete, they would harvest the additional organs. So the death of one person can save many lives, and this person (at least someone from Hailsham) lives a pretty comfortable/leisurely life up until they start donating. Hailsham does close and it is hinted that the other schools are nowhere near this nice. So the novel asks the questions What is a person’s life worth, especially if the person isn’t really a person.
Overall, it was a very interesting book/movie that takes place in an alternate past. I don’t see it as being very realistic though. I can’t see a humanity that is willing to raise kids as spare parts, clones or not. I would say the movie and book are 13+ minimum. Worth a read and a watch.