Review – The Children Act by Ian McEwan


Before I’m off to Frankfurt Book Fair, I’d like to share another review. Thanks to Penguin Random House UK I had the pleasure of reading Ian McEwan’s latest novel The Children Act in a LovelyBooks reader’s circle.

The Children Act
Image provided by Jonathan Cape¹
Synopsis quoted from Jonathan Cape¹:

Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge, presiding over cases in the family court. She is renowned for her fierce intelligence, exactitude and sensitivity. But her professional success belies private sorrow and domestic strife. There is the lingering regret of her childlessness, and now, her marriage of thirty years is in crisis.

At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: for religious reasons, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, Adam, is refusing the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents share his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely held faith? In the course of reaching a decision Fiona visits Adam in hospital – an encounter which stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.

My Thoughts:

The Children Act is set in contemporary England and from the very first page, Ian McEwan draws you into Fiona Maye’s world with detailed descriptions of her surroundings.

Fiona is an introvert High Court judge approaching sixty who has been living by the rules for all her life. She has problems showing her feelings and in consequence her marriage suffers. When Fiona meets Adam, a young man suffering from leukaemia, her world starts spinning. Adam, who is almost 18, is very different from Fiona. He is overly self-confident, poetry-writing know-it-all and he is determined to live his short life to the fullest – finally, a teenager acting like a teenager.

The Children Act is built around a theme that some might be bored by and it is written in beautiful, refined prose that can be hard to understand for those who aren’t advanced speakers of English. But please don’t be put off by the complex language and the law theme, as McEwan manages to give you insight into a world unknown to most of us, and while I was sceptical at first, this book kept me glued to the pages. So go on and read this riveting novel about life and the choices you make.



9 thoughts on “Review – The Children Act by Ian McEwan

    1. This was my first McEwan but I’m sure something from the backlist will follow 🙂 Any suggestions? I’ve seen the movie adaption of Atonement and I liked it. But because it’s still quite fresh on my mind I’m not so sure about reading it.


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