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The Children Act

Walmart # 563748136
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Now a Major Motion Picture starring Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, and Fionn Whitehead. One of the Best Books of the Year: The Washington Post , NPR, Vogue , BookRiot Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge who presides over cases in the family division. 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: Adam, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, is refusing for religious reasons the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents echo his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely expressed faith? In the course of reaching a decision, Fiona visits Adam in the hospital--an encounter that stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous co...

Customer Review Snapshot

3.9 out of 5 stars
92 total reviews
5 stars
26
4 stars
36
3 stars
23
2 stars
5
1 star
2
Most helpful positive review
A fast read, enjoyable on the whole, obviously well researched with regard to legal cases but I did think that more could have been made of Adam's character to make the novel more emotionally fulfilling, particularly as Fiona and her husband come across as somewhat emotionally lacking. Fiona largely because she has had to learn to divorce herself from her emotions in her career as a high court judge. In one telling point of the novel her husband returns after she has had the locks changed and she accepts him back. They seem to just carry on as before. Her husband well, he just doesn't seem a particularly well rounded character to me. I didn't get a very full picture of who he was. I reckon Ian McEwan is trying to make the point that neither of them are particularly appealing characters, which is okay, because people aren't always warm, caring creatures, but in my opinion Adam had the potential to lift the novel from a 4 star to a 5 star read, so that was a bit of a disappointment. BIT of a SPOILER: When Fiona travels to Newcastle, (this city represents her teenage freedom) she acts in a way that seems out of keeping with the Fiona in the rest of the book. I see what Ian McEwan is trying to achieve, (in returning to Newcastle for a brief moment she is thrown back in time to her youth,) and the kiss represents that teenage abandon. But still it seems a bit odd, like an exclamation mark in the midst of it all! For me the denouement fizzled out a bit because Adam isn't a strong enough character to engage the reader's emotions particularly when Fiona is the queen of carrying on. Notable quotes:"We've arrived Fiona. I've become your brother. It's cosy and sweet and I love you, but before I drop dead, I want one passionate affair.""But she became squeamish about bodies, barely able to look at her own or Jack's without feeling repelled. ""A professional life spent above the affray, advising then judging, loftily commenting in private on the viciousness and absurdity of divorcing couples, and now she was down there with the rest, swimming with the desolate tide."

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Now a Major Motion Picture starring Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, and Fionn Whitehead. One of the Best Books of the Year: The Washington Post , NPR, Vogue , BookRiot Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge who presides over cases in the family division. 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: Adam, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, is refusing for religious reasons the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents echo his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely expressed faith? In the course of reaching a decision, Fiona visits Adam in the hospital--an encounter that stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous co... Now a Major Motion Picture starring Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, and Fionn Whitehead. 

One of the Best Books of the Year: The Washington Post, NPR, Vogue, BookRiot


Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge who presides over cases in the family division. 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: Adam, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, is refusing for religious reasons the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents echo his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely expressed faith? In the course of reaching a decision, Fiona visits Adam in the hospital—an encounter that stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.

Specifications

Publisher
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Book Format
Paperback
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
240
Author
Ian McEwan
ISBN-13
9781101872871
Publication Date
April, 2015
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
8.00 x 5.16 x 0.75 Inches
ISBN-10
110187287X

Customer Reviews

5 stars
26
4 stars
36
3 stars
23
2 stars
5
1 star
2
Most helpful positive review
A fast read, enjoyable...
A fast read, enjoyable on the whole, obviously well researched with regard to legal cases but I did think that more could have been made of Adam's character to make the novel more emotionally fulfilling, particularly as Fiona and her husband come across as somewhat emotionally lacking. Fiona largely because she has had to learn to divorce herself from her emotions in her career as a high court judge. In one telling point of the novel her husband returns after she has had the locks changed and she accepts him back. They seem to just carry on as before. Her husband well, he just doesn't seem a particularly well rounded character to me. I didn't get a very full picture of who he was. I reckon Ian McEwan is trying to make the point that neither of them are particularly appealing characters, which is okay, because people aren't always warm, caring creatures, but in my opinion Adam had the potential to lift the novel from a 4 star to a 5 star read, so that was a bit of a disappointment. BIT of a SPOILER: When Fiona travels to Newcastle, (this city represents her teenage freedom) she acts in a way that seems out of keeping with the Fiona in the rest of the book. I see what Ian McEwan is trying to achieve, (in returning to Newcastle for a brief moment she is thrown back in time to her youth,) and the kiss represents that teenage abandon. But still it seems a bit odd, like an exclamation mark in the midst of it all! For me the denouement fizzled out a bit because Adam isn't a strong enough character to engage the reader's emotions particularly when Fiona is the queen of carrying on. Notable quotes:"We've arrived Fiona. I've become your brother. It's cosy and sweet and I love you, but before I drop dead, I want one passionate affair.""But she became squeamish about bodies, barely able to look at her own or Jack's without feeling repelled. ""A professional life spent above the affray, advising then judging, loftily commenting in private on the viciousness and absurdity of divorcing couples, and now she was down there with the rest, swimming with the desolate tide."
Most helpful negative review
I wavered between one ...
I wavered between one and two stars because it's not a bad book, I just didn't like it. I felt like maybe I didn't get it , because the whole thing seemed a little pointless. If the entire story could be told to someone in a couple of minutes or less, which this can, there isn't much there. Unless, as I say, I'm just dumb and missing something.
Most helpful positive review
A fast read, enjoyable...
A fast read, enjoyable on the whole, obviously well researched with regard to legal cases but I did think that more could have been made of Adam's character to make the novel more emotionally fulfilling, particularly as Fiona and her husband come across as somewhat emotionally lacking. Fiona largely because she has had to learn to divorce herself from her emotions in her career as a high court judge. In one telling point of the novel her husband returns after she has had the locks changed and she accepts him back. They seem to just carry on as before. Her husband well, he just doesn't seem a particularly well rounded character to me. I didn't get a very full picture of who he was. I reckon Ian McEwan is trying to make the point that neither of them are particularly appealing characters, which is okay, because people aren't always warm, caring creatures, but in my opinion Adam had the potential to lift the novel from a 4 star to a 5 star read, so that was a bit of a disappointment. BIT of a SPOILER: When Fiona travels to Newcastle, (this city represents her teenage freedom) she acts in a way that seems out of keeping with the Fiona in the rest of the book. I see what Ian McEwan is trying to achieve, (in returning to Newcastle for a brief moment she is thrown back in time to her youth,) and the kiss represents that teenage abandon. But still it seems a bit odd, like an exclamation mark in the midst of it all! For me the denouement fizzled out a bit because Adam isn't a strong enough character to engage the reader's emotions particularly when Fiona is the queen of carrying on. Notable quotes:"We've arrived Fiona. I've become your brother. It's cosy and sweet and I love you, but before I drop dead, I want one passionate affair.""But she became squeamish about bodies, barely able to look at her own or Jack's without feeling repelled. ""A professional life spent above the affray, advising then judging, loftily commenting in private on the viciousness and absurdity of divorcing couples, and now she was down there with the rest, swimming with the desolate tide."
Most helpful negative review
I wavered between one ...
I wavered between one and two stars because it's not a bad book, I just didn't like it. I felt like maybe I didn't get it , because the whole thing seemed a little pointless. If the entire story could be told to someone in a couple of minutes or less, which this can, there isn't much there. Unless, as I say, I'm just dumb and missing something.
1-5 of 92 reviews

There are three types ...

There are three types of books I enjoy reading and, as a result, there's generally three types of authors that go along with those books. Sometimes an author will cross over and write something that dabbles a little bit (or jumps completely into) one of those other two types of books, but generally speaking, they stick to what's been done before under their name. One of those types of books (and authors) I really enjoy employs beautiful language and a storytelling ability that transcends everything else. When I read this type of book I can feel my world view expanding and my thoughts and ideas and preconceptions being challenged and tested. Ian McEwan writes books that not only deliver a sucker punch to my gut, but makes me grateful for being there to get punched in the first place. THE CHILDREN ACT delivered yet another punch and, while it didn't hurt as much as ATONEMENT or SOLACE did, the after-effects are still rocking me a bit. Read the rest of this review at The Lost Entwife on Sept. 8, 2014.

McEwans latest novel ...

McEwan's latest novel initially had me captivated, but something--mainly, my interest--got a little lost along the way. Fiona Maye, a British judge who decides cases involving child welfare, has just reached a number of difficult and controversial decisions. One concerned the custody of two young girls whose parents belong to a strict Jewish sect. Unable to bear more children, the mother enrolled in open university classes and began to pursue a career, becoming more "worldly" in the process, much to the dismay of her husband. The second was the case of conjoined twins, one of whom could survive if they were separated; if not, both were doomed to die. The hospital asked the court to intervene because the parents believed that whatever happened was God's will. Now, sitting on her desk, is yet another difficult case. Adam Henry, just three months shy of his majority (18), suffers from leukemia, but he and his parents, who are Jehovah's Witnesses, reject the blood transfusions that could save his life. In making her decision, Fiona tries to keep focused strictly on the letter of the law, the sanctity of individual faith, and the welfare of the child in question. However, her ability to keep her professional life separate from her personal life quavers when she meets Adam, a sensitive, self-assured, intelligent young man. For in the midst of all this, Fiona's marriage has begun to fall apart. Her husband announces that, with her permission, he would like to have an affair while he is still capable, complaining that she has no interest in sex and is just no fun anymore. He also feels that she has become closed off and is keeping things to herself that he wishes she would share. Fiona begins to contemplate the past: what she has given up for the sake of her career, including having children of her own. In some ways, I would have been happier had the novel ended with Fiona's decision, or perhaps with Adam's letter in response to it. But, as is usual for McEwan, things take a detour that is a bit off kilter. Of course, this leads to more self-analysis on Fiona's part--another hallmark of McEwan's work. In this regard, The Children Act is somewhat reminiscent of another brief novel, On Chesil Beach. All in all, this was an engaging read up to the rather muddled, unsatisfactory conclusion. Definitely worth reading, but not among McEwan's best. If you haven't read Atonement or On Chesil Beach, pick those up first.

Ian McEwans new novel...

Ian McEwan's new novel, The Children Act, revisits one of his favorite themes: how a messy encounter with a stranger can crack open and reshape the lives of privileged people. In this case the protagonist is a highly successful female judge who is in a long, but childless, marriage. The novel opens with her husband threatening an affair. McEwan's rhythmic prose captures the patterns in the judge's life, from her morning preparations and processes of walking to and from work, to the intimate rituals in a long marriage, to the details of the judge's cases in family court. McEwan enlivens the narrative with surprising references, such as "she turned right toward her broad landing onto which the doors of many High Court judges faced--like an advent calendar, she sometimes thought" (50). The cases themselves are interesting, underscoring the judge's reasoned judgements as well as the emotional scarring caused by certain cases. Her newest case concerns a precocious young man who is refusing a blood transfusion because of religious beliefs. The scenes between Fiona and the young man are poignant, intense and unscripted, in contrast to her usual life. Throughout the novel, belief and disbelief, reason and emotion, alternate. Music forms an underlying theme, whether Fiona's love of classical music and piano, her husband of jazz, or the young man who is just learning the violin. And at critical moments, the words and laments of a ballad. In the course of this very readable book, both Fiona and the reader learn that there are no choices without consequences--and redemption itself comes with a cost.

A fast read, enjoyable...

A fast read, enjoyable on the whole, obviously well researched with regard to legal cases but I did think that more could have been made of Adam's character to make the novel more emotionally fulfilling, particularly as Fiona and her husband come across as somewhat emotionally lacking. Fiona largely because she has had to learn to divorce herself from her emotions in her career as a high court judge. In one telling point of the novel her husband returns after she has had the locks changed and she accepts him back. They seem to just carry on as before. Her husband well, he just doesn't seem a particularly well rounded character to me. I didn't get a very full picture of who he was. I reckon Ian McEwan is trying to make the point that neither of them are particularly appealing characters, which is okay, because people aren't always warm, caring creatures, but in my opinion Adam had the potential to lift the novel from a 4 star to a 5 star read, so that was a bit of a disappointment. BIT of a SPOILER: When Fiona travels to Newcastle, (this city represents her teenage freedom) she acts in a way that seems out of keeping with the Fiona in the rest of the book. I see what Ian McEwan is trying to achieve, (in returning to Newcastle for a brief moment she is thrown back in time to her youth,) and the kiss represents that teenage abandon. But still it seems a bit odd, like an exclamation mark in the midst of it all! For me the denouement fizzled out a bit because Adam isn't a strong enough character to engage the reader's emotions particularly when Fiona is the queen of carrying on. Notable quotes:"We've arrived Fiona. I've become your brother. It's cosy and sweet and I love you, but before I drop dead, I want one passionate affair.""But she became squeamish about bodies, barely able to look at her own or Jack's without feeling repelled. ""A professional life spent above the affray, advising then judging, loftily commenting in private on the viciousness and absurdity of divorcing couples, and now she was down there with the rest, swimming with the desolate tide."

Die 59-jährige Richter...

Die 59-jährige Richterin Fiona verhandelt schwierige Fälle im Familenrecht. Sie ist sehr gut in ihrem Beruf. Auch im Fall eines siebzehnjährigen Jungen, der aus religiösen Gründen eine Bluttransfusion verweigert, entscheidet sie nach bestem Wissen und Gewissen, ja, sie nimmt sich sogar trotz der Dringlichkeit die Zeit den Jungen im Krankenhaus zu besuchen und kennen zu kernen. Ich fand das Buch sehr interessant. Zum einen schildert es plausibel und glaubwürdig die Arbeitstage einer Familienrichterin, eine Entscheidung nach der anderen, von denen aber keine auf die leichte Schulter genommen wird, dazwischen schnell ein Sandwich. Man bekommt sehr großen Respekt davor, was es hei��t, unter Druck zu handeln und man bekommt auch Respekt davor, wie man es mit einem solchen Beruf noch schaffen kann, Mensch zu bleiben, Beziehungen zu pflegen, zu musizieren. Der Fall des jungen Leukämiepatienten Adam wird für Fiona erst nach der Urteilsverkündung zur Belastung, da sie mit ihrem Urteil eine emotionale Konsequenz verursacht, auf die sie nicht mit professioneller Routine reagieren kann. Letztendlich ist sie hilflos und zudem auch zu sehr unter Anspannung um sich wirklich Gedanken über diese Konsequenzen zu machen. Und hier kommt nun der Handlungsstrang mit ihrem Mann Jack hinzu. Nach 30 Jahren Ehe möchte Jack eine Affäre haben. Sie trennen sich. Die folgende Handlung zeigt auch wie gut es sein kann, in einer Ehe zu sein, gerade jemand mit hoher Belastung benötigt auch einen sicheren Hafen, einen Ort zum Loslassen, jemanden, der einen liebt. Ich fand das Buch daher insgesamt stimmig und sehr interessant, gerade was die medizinischen Fälle betrifft. Es ist interessant zu sehen, dass bei aller ethischen Auslegung und gefühltem Rechtsempfinden das Recht doch eine eindeutige Richtschnur bietet. Allerdings werden im Buch auch Fälle dargestellt, bei denen die Rechtssprechung versagt. Und dadurch wird deutlich, dass es gut ist eine gewissenhafte Richterin wie Fiona zu haben.

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Electrode, Comp-283796736, DC-prod-dfw5, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-30.0.3, SHA-fe0221a6ef49da0ab2505dfeca6fe7a05293b900, CID-5660241e-e7b-16e6cfd5d8e8ff, Generated: Fri, 15 Nov 2019 02:56:14 GMT