Never Let Me Go - Reading Guide
1. Kathy jumps right into telling her story as though we're already familiar with Hailsham and her culture. At which point in the story are you able to start piecing the information together to understand what words like "donation" and "carer" mean? Does the witholding of information make you want to read more, or do you find it frustrating?
2. What does Hailsham stand for in Kathy's life? Compare and contrast how Kathy, Tommy, Ruth, Chrissie and Rodney view Hailsham, and what it represents in their lives.
3. Why do you think Hailsham's guardians placed such an emphasis on creating?
4. How do you think the novel would be different if narrated from the point of view of Tommy, Ruth, Miss Emily or Madame? What characteristics of the novel are unique to Kathy's point of view and voice?
5. What are some of Ruth’s most striking character traits? How might her social behavior, at Hailsham and later at the Cottages, be explained? Why does she seek her “possible” so earnestly? Why do you think Ruth is attracted to a relationship with Tommy?
6. Compare student life at Hailsham to your own school experience, or that of children in your life right now. What aspects are common to the imaginary world of Hailsham and your own? What is different?
7. How does the story change after Kathy and Tommy visit Madame and Miss Emily to request a deferral? What is revealed in their conversation, and how does your experience of the story change?
8. Why does Tommy draw imaginary animals in miniature? Why does he continue to work on them even after he learns that there will be no deferral?
9. When Madame sees Kathy dancing to the song on the Judy Bridgewater tape, we learn Kathy's interpretation of what she thinks Madame must be thinking. Why did you think Madame was crying? When Madame recalls this incident later from her own perspective, did it match your expectations?
10. What is the significance of "Never Let Me Go" as Kathy's song, the title of the book, and in the last few pages of the novel?
11. After their visit to Miss Emily and Madame, Kathy tells Tommy that his fits of rage might be explained by the fact that “at some level you always knew." How much did the students at Hailsham know while they were there? Do you think Tommy knew more than the others?
12. Does the novel take a moral or ethical position on cloning, or does it just open a dialog? What response did it evoke from you? What implications are there for our own society?
13. Miss Emily believed that hiding the truth from the Hailsham students was best, while Miss Lucy wanted to make the students more aware of their future. Which method do you agree with and why?
14. Why do Miss Emile and Madame feel revulsion towards the students at Hailsham? When Tommy and Kathy visit them in Part III, does this revulsion conflict with the morals that the the two guardians explain themselves as having?
15. Many reviews refer to Never Let Me Go as a science fiction novel. What genre would you classify it as?
16. Were you expecting a happy ending to the novel? When Tommy and Kathy don't get their deferral and instead are resigned to their fate, are you suprised? How would your experience of the novel change if there had been a happy ending instead?