A Summer 2023 Book Read: Never Let Me Go


Cassidi Weaver, Writer

In 2005, Nobel Prize Winner Kazuo Ishiguro published his sixth novel, Never Let Me Go.  The novel is contemporary science fiction which follows the protagonist Kathy in a dystopian-like world. Divided into three parts, this 288-page novel is the perfect book to read this summer if you are looking for a quick read. 

Kathy, the 31-year-old protagonist, recently decided to finally retire from her job as a carer and move on to her next stage in life. Through the narration of Kathy, the readers follow Kathy’s recollection of three stages in her life that lead her to where she is today. One may look at Kathy as an unreliable narrator due to the fact that what the readers are exposed to is only from Kathy’s memory dating back as far as 23 years. However, consistent in each part of the novel is Kathy’s relationship with Ruth and Tommy. Experiencing ups and downs in her relationships, readers witness the impact of friendship on Kathy’s decisions. Although subtle, the power of friendship is hinted at throughout the novel through Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy. While Kathy may get into arguments with Ruth, throughout the entirety of their friendship, they always have each other’s back. As for Kathy and Tommy, well their relationship is special. Tommy was a child who was made fun of by most of his peers; however, Kathy, unlike her peers, did not join in on the picking and would try to help Tommy at times. Throughout each stage of their life, Kathy and Tommy were always able to confide in each other forming a special bond. 

The title itself – Never Let Me Go – connects to not only friendship but memory. Kathy always held onto these friendships with Ruth and Tommy, never forgetting them, even when the trio went years without speaking to each other. Additionally, Kathy had “never let go” of her past, and near the end of the novel Kathy learns to cherish these memories. In fact, regarding her memory of her childhood, more specifically her childhood experiences with Ruth and Tommy, Kathy claims that she “won’t lose [her] memory of them” (Ishiguro 286). 

 The phrasing of “never let me go” also refers back to Kathy’s role in society. Without spoiling the novel, all I can say about this topic is that from a young age, Kathy was always destined to have a certain role in society.  Implemented at a young age, Kathy would never be able to “let go”  of this role, even though as an adult she attempts to with Tommy. 

While the idea of memory and friendship is just one minor part of this novel, I found it to be a constant that resonates with teenage readers who are going through changes in their current life.  Never Let Me Go is a beautiful novel that leaves readers wanting for more, and I highly recommend this book for a summer reading.