The Daydreamer by Ian McEwan

There’s nothing like starting a blog about your yearly goals midway through the year. I realized today that I needed to record my thoughts about the books I was reading in some format. More than just writing them down in a list, I want to own what I read and share it with others.

Ultimately my goal each year is to reach that elusive “Book Fifty–” the completion of my annual reading challenge. I started this process in 2012, and in the last three years I’ve completed the goal twice. There are lots of reasons why 2013 was not a 50 book year, but I’ll spare you the excuses.

So here’s my first book review for Book Fifty: The Daydreamer by Ian McEwan.

Who here has been personally victimized by the novel Atonement? Anyone?  I’m always amazed at the amount of different reactions books can cause. Even though I’ve been an avid reader all of my life, there are certain books that affect me in strange and unique ways. Take Atonement, for example. I’m a crier, so crying during books is no surprise for me. Atonement was the first book I have ever read that made me cry after I finished reading. I finished the book, finished the epilogue, sat on my bed for a few minutes, and then started crying. I’m not sure what it is about McEwan’s ability to craft a story that led to such a delayed reaction, but it was an incredible experience.

I bought The Daydreamer at the same time I bought Atonement, but for reasons related to seventh graders and moving and grad school I never got around to reading it. When I finally picked it up again I finished it in a single sitting.

This book is a collection of stories that all have to do with a young boy named Peter Fortune. McEwan explains in the introduction that he wrote the stories for adults and children to enjoy, and there’s something amazing about the way he writes about the transient nature of childhood. The stories are simple enough to be understood and enjoyed by children, but they are also poignant and profound. I found myself wishing I could go back to the days where I daydreamed during school and imagined incredible adventures for myself.

The stories are also unique because they are somewhat unsettling. They reminded me of old fairy tales–there’s just enough uncertainty and strangeness to leave you feeling delightfully uneasy. Nothing too scary or macabre, just weird and wonderful stories about a boy with a very active imagination.

I would recommend this if you’re looking for some summer reading that is light but still meaningful. I’m sure if I spent more time poring over them I would find more scholarly things to say, but for now I’m happy to report that this was an excellent summer read.

I’ll leave it there for now until I can come up with a creative way to rate books that isn’t the subjective “star” system. Oh, how I hate those stars. How are we supposed to rank Outlander, Hamlet, and The Road on the same scale?

Things to think about…

Keep Reading!



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