Book Reviews of Atonement

Author: Ian McEwan
ISBN-13: 9780307387158
ISBN-10: 0307387151
Publication Date: 11/6/2007
Pages: 368
Edition: Reprint
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.

3.3 stars, based on 372 ratings
Publisher: Anchor
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

28 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Atonement on + 33 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
Not sure about this book. It received so much hype that I feel a little disappointed. The beginning part of the book rambles on about the youngest of the girl's and sets the stage for her accusation. Although this set the stage for her over-active imagination, I felt that this was much too long and I lost interest numerous times. The book did hold interest at certain points but would then turn around to the drawn out portions. It seemed very detail oriented about things that were not major events in the story. Glad I finished it and was kinda OK but took a while to get through.
reviewed Atonement on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
I was really set on reading this book. The beginning was slow, it definitely was hard to get into.. but once it picked up. It was a great novel. the fact that someones world can be turned upside just because of another persons view of an encounter.
reviewed Atonement on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This book won rave reviews for its literary style. The story takes place in Three sections with an Epilogue. It is slow moving in some places, but looking back it is fascinating to put all the pieces together from the author's viewpoint once it is complete.

The historical slant is also interesting as we see the war in Europe from differing perspectives. I believe the author has achieved something unusual in putting himself in the place of a 13 year old girl and moving us forward with the story.

I found it hard to get into and slow in some places, but very fast moving in others. I can see why it was made into a movie (which I understand is pretty faithful to the book) and also why Mr. Mcewan was acclaimed.
reviewed Atonement on + 1756 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I was really surprised at how much I disliked this book. It's one of those rarities where the movie was more enjoyable to me than the book. I couldn't even finish it because it just dragged on and on and the author was so redundant about the little girl and her fixation on her writings that it just bored me to tears.
reviewed Atonement on + 35 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Basically, there were only about 100 pages of this book that I really enjoyed.
I felt that the first 100 pages could probably have been summed up in about 10 pages. I had to push through them, and I only did that because I've heard other people say the first part of this book can drag on.
I thought the author was WAY too wordy and descriptive. Descriptions are great, but I don't need full descriptions of every single little detail of everything throughout the entire book. It actually got to be annoying towards the end. There were times when I realized that I'd read at least 5 pages, and the story had gone nowhere because all I had read were pointless details (in my opinion).
It's not a bad book, and I did like parts of it, but for me, the parts I didn't enjoy outnumbered the parts I did enjoy.
reviewed Atonement on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
A VERY slow go in the beginning, but fortunately picks up in the middle. If you are the type that likes Jane Austen's books more than the movie versions, read this book. If you like the movie versions better, maybe watch the movie instead. Can't say I've ever read a book quite like this one before. Saying anymore would probably give away too much, which is probably reason enough to read it.
reviewed Atonement on + 33 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Clever indeed! The author patiently sculpted the narrative with beautiful imagery and sensual artistry on an English estate. I found it to be purposeful, from cover to cover. It stands out as a significant work of art compared to contemporary literature which is mostly superficial. There are penetrating themes that lie beneath the story lines: shame, guilt, cognitive development, truth, perception, social class, forbidden love, and more. I will savor this novel for years to come.
reviewed Atonement on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book was a great book for a book club. Lots of discussion especially about the second part of the story. The first part, told by a young girl, kind of drags but it really picks up in the second part and makes the story very readable.
reviewed Atonement on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is a beautifully written book. Throughout the whole, despite the constant change in point of view, I found the details rich and the prose extraordinary. I could feel the heat of the day, the silk of the dress, everything.

It is not a fast read, but instead one to be enjoyed languidly and at leisure.
reviewed Atonement on
Helpful Score: 2
McEwan's writing style held little appeal for me. I much preferred the movie as it was not as bogged down...
reviewed Atonement on + 42 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book reminded me of looking at a very beautiful painting - rich, descriptive language, but not a lot happens, and what does happen is in the imagination of one despicable little girl. I don't want to ruin the ending, but it's really not worth getting that far in the book anyway.
reviewed Atonement on
Helpful Score: 2
Beautifully written study of how personal interpretations can color how we tell a story.
reviewed Atonement on + 54 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
When I first started reading this book I thought the author was using too many words and not saying anything. It took awhile to get into. I've read books that use less words to say more. Overall it was a good story. However, I'm not in a hurry to read other books by this author.
reviewed Atonement on + 48 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I found the writing style a bit overdone, too descriptive, and it caused my interest to wane. The story is probably a good one, but I couldn't get past the sometimes elaborate verbiage.
reviewed Atonement on + 79 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book (and subsequent movie)received so much hype that I feel a little disappointed when I was reading it. The author just is so OVER detailed and just rambles on and on about that I had a VERY difficult time getting interested and staying interested, that I found myself skimming a lot of the time. Towards the end, it did get a wee bit better and I was beginning to be able to read and imagine and retain what was actually happening. I am one to not stop reading a book ... but I came VERY close several times. I haven't seen the movie, but I think that this might be one of those rare exceptions where the movie is better than the book.
reviewed Atonement on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Good story and good writting
reviewed Atonement on + 67 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Very very good. It had a great story line and came full circle at the end.
reviewed Atonement on + 49 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
After 1/4 of the way through, I just couldn't do it. It dragged so much. Whine whine whine
reviewed Atonement on + 61 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Familiar-type storyline. It was okay but I felt the writing boggs down with too much descriptive narrative. However, there is an interesting twist at end.
reviewed Atonement on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
There were a lot of things I liked about this book; not the least was how the author drew believable characters and gave me so many reasons to identify with each one. Young Briony, who loses herself in her fantasies, writing stories and plays to impress her family, particularly her older brother. And her later experiences as a trainee nurse, writing in her her journal every day as the only way to preserve her individuality in her institutionalized life. Her older sister Cecilia, agonizing over the few choices an independent woman has in 1930's Britain after college. Robbie trying to understand where his relationship with the child Briony went wrong. Somehow, McEwan turns what might have been a mundane tale in another writer's hands into a page turner. His writing is smooth, detailed and evocative, but never feels overwritten. he painstakingly constructs the viewpoints of various characters and de-constructs many miscommunications. He keeps the drama taught--Briony witnesses a sexual assault and fingers a family friend as the perpetrator--yet keeps the right amount of humor present, such as when Robbie sends the *wrong* love note to Cecilia. Only the ending felt a bit out of place and contrived, if unexpected. Highly recommended.
reviewed Atonement on + 210 more book reviews
I couldnt get into this book at all and then I saw the movie, which was also dissapointing.
reviewed Atonement on + 651 more book reviews
Starts out well but half in way gets odd.
The time frame jumps around -future -past - way far future-past. And at the end you discover that the Atonement is all made up and the people are long dead. The Selfish girl becomes selfish old woman, who did nothing to save the man she send by false accusation to war to die or her sister who went to war to find him.
The book graphic describtion of the wounded is also disturbing.
I'm a bookworm but this book (even though it may speak to some readers) really missed me this time.
There are better books out there, pass this one unless you have the stomack for it.
reviewed Atonement on + 18 more book reviews
Didn't even make it to the end, not at all sure what all the fuss is about with this one. It dragged beyond belief!
reviewed Atonement on
One of the worst books I ever read.
reviewed Atonement on + 11 more book reviews
Much better than the movie!
reviewed Atonement on + 6 more book reviews
This book hurt my heart and I'm not sure I will watch the movie. It's fair to say the story haunted me. It stayed with me for a long time after I finished it and that's the mark of a truly good book IMO. Sad and lovely.
reviewed Atonement on
This is an incredibly well-crafted story you won't soon forget.
reviewed Atonement on + 10 more book reviews
I never watched the movie, but I cannot imagine it being as good as the book. It is beautifully written with powerful imagery. The middle was a little slow at times, but it was overall a wonderful read!