The Children Act

The Children Act

A Novel

Book Club Kit - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:
21
1
1
Fiona Maye is a High Court judge in London presiding over cases in family court. She is fiercely intelligent, well respected, and deeply immersed in the nuances of her particular field of law. But Fiona's professional success belies domestic strife. She decides to throw herself into her work, especially a complex case involving a 17-year-old boy whose parents will not permit a lifesaving blood transfusion because it conflicts with their beliefs as Jehovah's Witnesses. But the pressure to resolve the case test Fiona in ways that will keep readers thoroughly enthralled until the last stunning page.
Publisher: Toronto :, Alfred A. Knopf Canada,, 2014
ISBN: 9780345809629
Branch Call Number: F MCE NVD
Characteristics: 221 pages ; 22 cm

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

d
DorisWaggoner
Aug 19, 2018

The first part is slow going and depressing. Childless middle aged Fiona seems self-absorbed and way too proud of her status as a judge. Jack, asking her permission to have an affair, seems barely worthy of her. The details of the court are truly fascinating. Fiona notes that a bunch of cases in a row have to do with families in turmoil over religion, though she's careful to use the details of the law and morality in her rulings. Then comes the case of Adam, a member of a Jehovah's Witness family, who's dying of leukemia, just 3 months shy of 18, when he'd be an adult and free to make his own decisions. His doctors say he'll be dead by then, and needs immediately the transfusions forbidden by the Witnesses. For the first time, she finds she can't make her decision without visiting the patient. She is entranced with his beauty, intelligence, willingness to die for the principles of his faith, which he defends with great articulateness and passion. He reads her his poetry, and plays the violin, which he's learned passably in only four weeks. She recognizes one of the songs he plays, and she sings it to his accompaniment. He's delighted. He asks her to come visit again, appearing to believe they'll be friends. I won't give the spoiler of the decision she makes, but it's momentous for them both. I didn't think I'd read McEwan until looking through his listings to rate this one, to find I'd read "Atonement." I remembered the book, just not the title. Now I'll read others. A tone of sadness hangs most of "The Children Act" except for that interview between Fiona and Adam in the hospital. The writing is definitely top notch, and I read it in 24 hours.

d
Dee46
Jan 14, 2016

Very thought provoking about moral issues. Well written and absorbing.

e
empbee
Jan 01, 2016

Interesting diatribes of the health decision of young adults, the influence of adults.
Well written as usual.
I found the marital parallel story is a bit artificial, as well as the part of the young boy following the judge outside of the city.

patcumming Aug 28, 2015

This is a highly thought provoking book that presents a number of moral dilemmas. Fiona is an multi-faceted character and the layers of ambiguity make this a good choice for Book Clubs.

g
GLNovak
Jul 02, 2015

I quite liked the spare writing in this little book. Fiona Maye is a leading high court judge handling cases in the family court. She has many years experience and is now asked to pronounce on an urgent case. After careful consideration she delivers a verdict that she is convinced best fulfills the Children Act directive to ensure the welfare of the child. Consequences always arise and, in this instance, the case is not over for her. Fiona has always been in control of her predictable ordered life but now she must come to terms and deal with upsetting upheavals. The story proceeds at a measured pace marching to an ending that I expected. For me, a satisfying conclusion to an engaging story.

Catmamakim Jun 22, 2015

This turned out to be a page-turner for me and I found the writing to be intelligent and morallly stimulating. I was somewhat disappointed by the ending which I found to be anti-climactic but this did not reduce the quality of the read regardless.

brianreynolds Jun 07, 2015

Not a big fan of Atonement, I was pleasantly surprised to find McEwan's The Children Act a delightfully delicate adventure into the dilemma of personal and social responsibility. With a careful brushstroke, he dispassionately paints the reader into several different corners from which the letter and the spirit of the law, the wisdom of age and the desires of youth, the rational appeal of competence versus the need in the end to act with passion and bravery—all of these things that trap the reader somehow appear with such simplicty and clarity that I both envy the writing and wonder, like Adam, if the protaginist won't stay with me for a very long time.

r
retiring_rep
May 19, 2015

Wow! This novel will get you thinking about many important issues and the consequences of the choices regarding these issues. The ending will linger and not be forgotten.

n
nannerl
Feb 15, 2015

Very enjoyable little novel, written more like a short story.

e
EmilyEm
Feb 07, 2015

A judge in Family Court must rule on the case of a 17-year-old boy whose family refuses transfusions on religious grounds. At the same time her own married life takes a bad turn when her husband announces he wants an affair.

You must like legal stories to enjoy where this one takes you. The writing is as wonderful as always with McEwan but I longed for his always surprising ending to come quickly.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

AshleyLovesChocolate thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at NVDPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top