Review – Atonement

Atonement – Ian McEwan

Final Thoughts: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


I read Atonement because my best friend, showed me the movie. I ADORE James McAvoy, and who doesn’t love Keira Knightley? The movie was amazing, and I think there’s a rule that if you’re a bookworm, you have to read the book it was based on. I am so glad I did.

The absolutely heartbreaking story of a pair of lovers wrenched apart by a misunderstanding in the midst of WWII came to life between the pages of Ian McEwan’s novel. I’m surprised and pleased by how well the film followed the novel. The language McEwan uses is decadent, graceful, and so amazingly vivid. He has a way of describing a sitting room and making it feel like magic. Though the book was published in 2001, I feel like I read the classic prose of an author from eras past.

The novel switches perspective between several characters, including Cecilia (the blossoming young romantic) Robbie (the wrongly banished lover) and Briony (the kid sister responsible for his banishment). We hear from all sides of the story, like a court case, and we read as Briony tries to atone for her youthful, fateful mistake.

The tragedy of Robbie and Cecelia’s fleeting romance is so heartfelt, and when it is wrenched away, it is genuinely heartbreaking. I think the mark of a truly great tragedy is its ability to make you long for a different outcome, to make you so emotionally involved that you can’t accept the given ending, to genuinely grab you until you feel the loss of the characters. This instant classic has claimed its place among the all-time love stories, and it is one of my new favorites that I already can’t wait to reread, hoping for a better outcome. Hoping that this time, Briony realizes her mistake sooner. Hoping that this time, Robbie and Cecelia get their chance at love. Hoping, this time, for a happy ending.

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