About halfway through reading this book, I was not at all surprised they eventually made it into a movie. After all, it is a period piece set over the course of several years during a war, includes a pair of tragic lovers, and ends with a sort of twist. People eat that shit up, right? Well, I have not seen the movie but at that halfway point in the book I was not only dreading reading the rest of it but was even dreading having to write the very review you are now reading.
I was just going to be snarky and make a list of things that I would rather do than to ever have to read this book again, but I’ll try to not be so lazy: Ian McEwan’s Atonement is a novel about a young girl whose active imagination gets the better of her, and subsequently she manages to ruin the lives of two people. As she gets older, she realizes this and tries to atone for the mistakes of her youth. The one good thing I can say is that McEwan played around with the timeline a bit and the book probably would have been much longer had he not. For that, I am thankful. I am also thankful I read this early on in the year because if I had read this after reading eighty or so books that were much better, I would have probably stopped reading for a while.
To be clear, this book is probably not as terrible as I am making it sound. I have read much worse books, ones so bad I could not even finish them. McEwan is apparently considered a good writer from what Google tells me, and maybe it is just his style or this just is not my thing in general. Whatever it was, getting through this book was pretty brutal. Unless you have a strong desire to be bludgeoned into boredom with perfectly serviceable prose, I strongly suggest you leave this one alone.