The Children of Men
by P.D. James
Summary: Told with P. D. James’s trademark suspense, insightful characterization, and riveting storytelling, The Children of Men is a story of a world with no children and no future.
The human race has become infertile, and the last generation to be born is now adult. Civilization itself is crumbling as suicide and despair become commonplace. Oxford historian Theodore Faron, apathetic toward a future without a future, spends most of his time reminiscing. Then he is approached by Julian, a bright, attractive woman who wants him to help get her an audience with his cousin, the powerful Warden of England. She and her band of unlikely revolutionaries may just awaken his desire to live . . . and they may also hold the key to survival for the human race.
I couldn’t read this book objectively. The movie Children of Men is one of my favorites, but I never realized it was a based off of a book. When I saw this at the used bookstore and took a look at the synopsis, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait to read this book! Unfortunately, the movie ruined this book for me. It’s not often that I prefer a movie to a book, but this is one of those rare cases. Don’t get me wrong, the book is great. A lot of things are changed, but the basic meat and concept of the story is still there and it’s elegantly written. P.D. James is a wonderful writer, but this poetic account just didn’t do it for me. I preferred the action and fast pace of the movie.
The story is a mixture of Theo’s journal entries and events that happen from Theo’s point of view, but in third person narration. As a historian, Theo is very well worded and perceptive in his accounts. I appreciated this, but as I said before, I preferred the faster pace of the movie. I don’t want to say that the book was slow or boring because I could appreciate the descriptions and Theo’s outlook on the entire situation, but I suppose the movie was much more dramatic and in your face. I could compare it to watching someone walk down a sidewalk next to a busy road with honking cars versus listening to a narration of the same person walking down the same sidewalk, but occasionally looks up at the sky and the trees. It’s the same situation, but the second one isn’t quite so heart racing, if that comparison makes any sense. Watching someone in a somewhat dangerous situation is pretty scary, but having them tell you about it slowly and eloquently isn’t quite so suspenseful.
I couldn’t give this book more than 3 stars because it was incredibly disappointing, but I couldn’t give it any less because it was wonderfully written and I probably would have enjoyed it much more had I not been spoiled by the movie. I would recommend this book to others and I hope people read it before watching the movie so they can provide much better feedback than I can!