Book Review: Lessons By Ian McEwan


When the world is still counting the cost of the Second World War and the Iron Curtain has closed, eleven-year-old Roland Baines’s life is turned upside down. Two thousand miles from his mother’s protective love, stranded at an unusual boarding school, his vulnerability attracts piano teacher Miss Miriam Cornell, leaving scars as well as a memory of love that will never fade.

Now, when his wife vanishes, leaving him alone with his tiny son, Roland is forced to confront the reality of his restless existence. As the radiation from Chernobyl spreads across Europe, he begins a search for answers that looks deep into his family history and will last for the rest of his life.

Haunted by lost opportunities, Roland seeks solace through every possible means—music, literature, friends, sex, politics, and, finally, love cut tragically short, then love ultimately redeemed. His journey raises important questions for us all. Can we take full charge of the course of our lives without causing damage to others? How do global events beyond our control shape our lives and our memories? And what can we really learn from the traumas of the past?

Epic, mesmerizing, and deeply humane, Lessons is a chronicle for our times—a powerful meditation on history and humanity through the prism of one man’s lifetime.


This novel is indeed about Lessons.

Roland cannot get over his wife abandoning him and their baby. Why have one if you aren’t going to look after it or want it? Shouldn’t have a baby because you think you are supposed to or to fall in a clique.

Roland goes back and forth in life in his thoughts. One second he’s 14 playing the piano with his creepy teacher and the next he is in the daily life of the current.

His journey through his life is punctuated with attempts at escape, but ultimately always reflecting on how one’s personal reactions to events affects all around us. Are our personal feelings of rejection, remorse, anger, sadness, elation ever truly our OWN? How do we navigate our own private emotions without those emotions effecting those around us? 

It was more so a life lesson and how our thoughts can go back and forth. However for a novel I wish it was more consistent.

Thanks to the publishers for sending me this novel in exchange for my honest review.

3/5 Stars


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s