Book Review : The Children Act

The Children Act by Ian McEwan
240 pages
Published by Nan A. Talese (2014)

Fiona Maye is a successful High Court judge in her late fifties and presides over cases in family court.

From the outset we learn that she is immersed in her profession and in the nuances of her particular field of law and commands the respect of her peers.

Fiona seems rigorous and pragmatic and in the first chapter we discover that she is more than capable of considering sensibilities towards culture and beliefs when handing down verdicts.

All is not well in her world however and her marriage seems in peril when her husband Jack makes a challenging request and after an argument, moves out of the house.

His departure destabilises her but she throws herself into her work, which includes a complex case involving a seventeen-year-old boy whose parents will not permit a lifesaving blood transfusion because it conflicts with their religious beliefs.

The pressure to resolve the case and the continuing marital stress are only two of the elements that test Fiona and keeps the reader intrigued until the last chapter.

Overall the book is well written, the characters are plausible and the insights given into the workings of Family Court are often fascinating and made more so by an absence of sensationalism and modern journalism.

Personally I was very disappointed by the last chapter and the ultimate page.

I felt that the story lacked an interesting conclusion that I had already foreseen it earlier on. There was for me some improbable events that seemed out of character and left me dissatisfied.

This is a real shame as I had really enjoyed the book until then.

You will have to read the Children Act yourself to see if you agree or not but this is why I only gave it three stars.

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