Out of sheer curiosity, I finally read "Atonement," and am happy to say that I made it through the entire book. Unfortunately, it's not one that I will pass on or recommend to others - it's pretty depressing and quite slow for the first half. But! As I have done so many other times, I have to commend the author for writing a novel that really made me think, and for writing characters that I truly fell in love with.
McEwan uses an interesting literary technique, where the final chapter is a sort of glance back at the rest of the book. I haven't seen the movie, but have heard that it does the same thing. The entire novel is in third person, but in the end, the main character, Briony, narrates in first person, revealing that she had become a novelist and had written the account of the horrible mistake she made as a child and the effects it had on her family. It's a technique I have seen before - though not often - and love!
It took me a long time to finish and had some pretty graphic parts that will keep me from reading it again, but everyone knows I can't resist WWII novels . . . and I especially loved reading the passages that took place in London. How amazing to be able to picture the places being described and to remember being there myself! It was an interesting read. Don't hurry to buy it or pull it from the shelf at the library, but trust me when I say it's not the last book on earth I would read. I was happy to get to the last page and am looking forward to my next read. Still undecided . . .