The last set of books I read have been wonderful, and I highly recommend them. However, my winning streak came to an end the moment I picked Ian McEwan’s “The Children Act” off the library shelf.
Is this book so bad no one should ever read it? No. And of course I think you should read it in order to form your own opinion about it, but, remember, I never said it was good. It isn’t bad because of the writing style or the idea of the plot; it is bad because nothing in this short, 221-page book grabbed my attention and made me want to keep reading, but I pushed through it.
Fiona Maye is a family court judge and a well-known one to be exact. She handles cases that deal with child custody, divorce, arguments amongst spouses and families, etc. Outside of the courtroom, Fiona has a major family problem of her own: her husband has just told her he is planning to have an affair with a young, 28-year-old statistician.
Jack, her husband, says he doesn’t want a divorce; he wants everything left as is, except he will be sleeping with another woman. When Fiona tells him she doesn’t understand, he replies, “Yes you do. Didn’t you once tell me that couples in long marriages aspire to the condition of siblings? We’ve arrived, Fiona. I’ve become your brother. It’s cozy and sweet and I love you, but before I drop dead, I want one big passionate affair.”
As you can imagine, Fiona doesn’t agree, and Jack leaves for his mistress’ home. I found this to be the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard: a man asking permission to have an affair, really? But I guess I can give him some sort of credit for not lying and doing it behind her back. Anyway, let’s move on.
After the big surprise from her husband, Fiona learns the next day that a case has come in involving a 17-year-old boy named Adam who is slowly dying from leukemia in a hospital, and the only way to save his life is to give him blood transfusions. You’re probably thinking, “How is that a case? Just give him the blood transfusion.” Well, it isn’t that simple. Adam and his parents are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and it is against their religious practice to receive blood from another human being, so they refuse the treatment.
The court hears from Adam’s doctors and parents but it doesn’t get anyone anywhere, so Judge Fiona decides to visit Adam in the hospital to decide whether he knows what he is getting himself into. Because this is the most exciting part of the book, I am not going to tell you what her verdict is, and because I won’t tell you the verdict, I can’t tell you the ending either.
As stated previously, I did not like this book, and it is very rare for me to say that. However, if you like law and court cases, which I normally do, then you may enjoy this story, so go ahead and read it.