The Children Act; Ian McEwan
Nan Talese - Recorded Books - 2014
Fiona Maye is a 59 year old High Court family law judge in London. She’s been married to Jack for 35 years and as the novel opens, he tells his wife that at his age he needs to have, “one last passionate affair.” He further reports that the two of them have not have sex for seven weeks and one day. Her response to him is that if he chooses to follow through with the passionate affair, their marriage will be over.
With her marriage in trouble, and her emotions and anger running on high, work wise Fiona must deal with yet another hot issue. There is a petition presented to the court by a hospital to give a blood transfusion to a seventeen year old boy who has leukemia. The blood transfusion is needed to save his life. The parents are Jehovah’s Witnesses and are refusing him the life-saving blood he needs. Before deciding the case one way or the other Fiona visits the teen in the hospital. Despite his grave illness, he is upbeat , creative and a young man with so much to live for, and Fiona, as a childless woman, finds herself deeply moved by the potential and talent of this young man.
This story raises a lot of questions regarding morals, religion and the legal system. It's a relatively short audio book, and one that held my interest. The final pages were very moving. I think that this would make a great book for book club discussion. The audio book was read by Lindsay Duncan who did a very good job narrating the story. The novel's title comes from the British law, The Children Act, in which the court will determine cases where the upbringing or overall child's welfare is at issue.