The Children Act

23 February 2015

I have always imagined that deciding cases in the Family Court must be one of the most impossible jobs there is. I am lucky that the extent of my decisions run to whether I should be buying 20 copies of Ian McEwan’s new book or 50 - after reading it I think I should have got more.

‘The Children Act’ tells the story of Fiona Maye, a Judge on England’s High Court who finds herself having to preside over the case of a 17 year old boy who is dying from leukaemia. Due to his, and his family’s, religious faith he is refusing a life-saving blood transfusion and the hospital is seeking leave of the court to act against his and the family’s wishes.  Parallel to this story is the tale of Fiona’s failing marriage and how it affects her decision making.

This is a powerful story with big themes and Ian tackles them with a deft hand. I was nervous as I read that the story would take a clichéd turn and end on a disappointing note. However I should not have been concerned, considering the great skill of the author, and found the end to be - if not completely a surprise - very satisfying. With so many thoughts and ideas on life and marriage in this book it is one that will haunt you for weeks, if not months, after you have read the last page.


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