Friday, March 8

Another Post Appears! ...Finally

Hello again, neglected blog. Let’s start with a song recommendation this time. Spring feels like it’s just around the corner (and now that I’ve said that, just watch as we get a freak snow storm next week. Oh, Canada.) so I thought I might recommend a cheery song this week. Enjoy!

Matt & Kim - Let's Go (2012)

I haven't yet done any book reviews on my blog yet (despite it being called chachachabooks), so I thought I'd make one out of my most recently finished novel.

Review: Atonement by Ian McEwan

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that has been both compelling and thought provoking, as well as engaging and entertaining, but Ian McEwan manages to hit all four bases in his 2001 novel, Atonement. I remember first seeing the film adaptation in 2007, and it was a luscious, well-acted period drama, but I never ventured to read the novel until just recently. Am I ever glad I did.

The novel’s protagonist, Briony, is much more prominently displayed in the novel than she ever is in the film. She becomes a much more complex character, even when she shares only a sliver of her vivid inner world with the reader. Briony’s imagination and her musings are sometimes childish, yet never unbelievable. In the latter half of the novel, I loved how raw her guilt felt, yet how complex her feelings were towards her crime. You could tell how desperately she wanted to be told that she was not to blame for what had happened – to be told that she was only a child, that she didn’t understand what she had done – yet at the same time, she never allowed herself to be forgiven, nor did she completely forgive herself.

I found it interesting that many readers on Goodreads gave this book an extremely low rating, because they thought that the author was attempting to vilify a thirteen-year-old’s actions. I don't agree. Briony is not cast as a villainous character, and nor are her actions done out of evil. Briony clearly feels extremely guilty for her lies, but this does not mean that there is a simple moral to the story – that Briony should be a nice little girl and never lie and make sure to brush her teeth and go to bed on time. Instead, the novel asks us to question the morality of our own stories – why is it that we are rewarded for the lies we create in fiction? Why do certain lies carry more significance than others? Can we blame a child who has never been taught otherwise? At what age do we hold a child responsible for his or her own actions?

Other complaints include how McEwan does not explore the sexual trauma that Lola is subjected to. No, he doesn’t delve into this – because the protagonist of the story is Briony, not Lola, and the theme of the story is guilt, not rape.
Enough of my complainin’. I highly recommend this novel, and I think its review in the Globe and Mail summarizes my feelings toward it wonderfully: “Atonement is a deliriously great read, but more than that it is a great book.”

I hope you're all enjoying the sunshine, and have a wonderful weekend!

P.S. – I realized about halfway through the novel that I had been picturing Paul Marshall (the alleged rapist) as a redheaded Benedict Cumberbatch. Then I realized this was because he did in fact play Paul Marshall in the movie, and that’s why I had so many déjà vu moments while watching Sherlock for the first time.
He even had a creepy moustache for the part.


  1. Oh that "ooohh oh ohhh ohh" part will be stuck in my head for the next week or so.

    I never read Atonement nor have I watched the movie (except for glimpses of it at the Oscars that one year). From what I heard through Emma's ISU presentation in grade 11, it does sound unfair for Briony to be classified as a villain. She was just a girl who saw something in a different perceptive.

    And Benedict Cumberpatch! :D Okay, I'm watching this movie...enough though he does have a pedo moustache.

  2. lol, it is rather catchy.
    Atonement was very good! I think you might actually like it; it's got a really good plot twist at the end, and it's historical fiction (which I think I remember you telling me that you like?)
    hahaha, if you're looking for more Benedict Cumberbatch, I would avoid the movie. He's a major creeper in it. See image below.