This has been one of my favourite films for a long time. When I first watched it I didn’t know it was based on a book, but loved the aesthetics. When I found out it was a book I went out and bought it. Now four years later I have actually read it.
I always find it harder not to talk about the film when I watched it before I read the book. There are a lot of similarities and differences between the two, and they both offer a different view on the situation. I can’t say that I like one more than the other, just that they are indeed different.
The story follows a group of children as they grow up who live in a boarding school together. This part of the story sounds rather normal, but they are not normal children despite this relatively normal life. They are being raised for organ donation. The story is narrated by the now adult Kathy as she reflects on her life before she begins her donations.
This is a topic that has come up in other books and films in different ways. Although the ethics of forced organ donation does play a large part in the novel, I wouldn’t call it the focus which sets it apart from the others. It does raise questions about whether or not they have souls and what art is and means.
One thing that differs from the books and the film is the focus on love. In the novel there isn’t the same pressure put on the characters to be in love and the relationships don’t develop until later. Ruth also isn’t quite as petty as she is portrayed by Keira Knightly.
Overall I really enjoyed reading this book. I found that it did lag a bit in the middle but otherwise it had good pacing. The writing is good and engaging. I rated it a 8 out of 10 originally on goodreads but have since edited it after reflecting on my feelings about the novel some more to a five out of five. It’s a really neat sf book and I would highly recommend it.