Friday, June 3, 2011

The Children of Men by P.D. James

When The Children of Men (the movie) came out a few years ago, I was intrigued by its premise. Sometime in the near future human beings will no longer be able to have children. As hope dies out, one woman becomes pregnant and holds the key to the future of mankind. My son saw the film and told me I would hate it for its violence and profanity. So that was that.

Then I saw the book on a friend’s bookshelf and purposed to read it while skimming over the less savory parts. I’m glad I gave it a chance. Although P.D. James is a bit gritty for me, she’s an outstanding writer and I was immediately enthralled with the story.

Yes, profanity and violence occur, but they are nothing compared to the movie (according to the review I read here.) It’s too bad the film played up the books negatives and completely missed the positives. Although not a Christian novel, biblical themes run throughout the narrative. The most obvious is the hope of the world resting on a baby, but there are many instances of people struggling to find faith in a bleak world.

I was fascinated by James portrayal of sexuality (always discreetly done) in this “brave new world”. You would think the public would welcome sex without the danger of pregnancy, but James proposes the opposite to be true: Without the possibility of procreation, sex has no ultimate meaning and the people lose interest in it.

The Children of Men is a well-written page-turner that offers much food for thought.


Corey P. said...

Great review! If I wanted to read this book before, I really want to read it now! :D

Sherry said...

You didn't really miss anything. The book is much better than the movie. I did think the book "offered much food for thought," and I see parallels in societies where the birth rate is below replacement (Europe, Japan) and people are finding it difficult to find meaning in life without God and without a next generation to live for.

Seth said...

The book is definitely better than the movie. The film seemed to take all the pro-life-friendly messages and replace them with pro-euthanasia tripe.

Cindy Swanson said...

I actually saw this movie too. I'll never forget the scene where the sound of a baby brings everything to a halt...a very moving scene, but not worth enduring the entire film.

The book sounds very interesting--great review.

Hope you'll check mine out:

My review of Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

Janet said...

I read and reviewed this one a few years ago. Thought provoking, though I found neither book nor movie to be exactly inspiring... rather dark.

Lazygal said...

I read the book when it first came out, and loved it as a dystopian novel with an interesting twist. The themes of hope, faith and how does life go on when society has been so disrupted. Then I saw the movie... and I wondered if the filmmakers had read the same book I had.

(thanks for posting the link to your review on Semicolon!)