#3. ‘The Children Act’ by Ian McEwan

Religion and Law

Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge in London ruling over cases in family court. She is intelligent, well-respected and very dedicated to each case she is involved in. The child’s welfare shall be the court’s primary consideration regardless of the religion and culture the child is brought in. Fiona is an expert of understanding the sensitivities of both when passing down her verdicts.

Difficult Case

The case of Adam, a seventeen year’s old boy whose life is at stake due to an illness puts Fiona in between his life and the religion the boy is brought in. His parents and Adam himself are refusing a blood transfusion which is the only way to save his life. It is against Jehovah’s Witness belief that blood should be shared between human beings.

The blood is the essence of what’s human. It’s the soul, it’s life itself. And just as life is sacred, so is blood. Mixing your own blood with the blood of another human being is pollution, contamination. It should be an easy decision for Fiona to decide in favour of the hospital and doctors who want to save the boy’s life. Ruling in favour of the parents and the boy would be Adam’s death sentence. Fiona decides to visit the boy in the hospital, to see for herself why he is refusing to be treated. She finds the boy extremely intelligent and talented. His religious beliefs and meaning of life are very matured and sensible for such a young person. The bond between them develops which makes it even harder for Fiona to conclude the case.

Personal Life

In the meantime, her marriage is at stake after her husband Jack proposes an open marriage. Eventually, he moves out of their house leaving Fiona alone with her confused thoughts as to what she really fears. She decided to throw herself back into her work and Adam’s case. Ultimately the judgement she made had significant consequences for them both.

To Conclude

Another true masterpiece by Ian McEwan. His writing is simply beautiful, clear and as with all his books keeps the reader thoroughly gripped until the last stunning page. This is one of the best realistic fiction novels I had a pleasure to read over the last year.

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