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Summary from Goodreads.com

Book cover from goodreads.com

In this stunning new novel, Ian McEwan’s first female protagonist since Atonement is about to learn that espionage is the ultimate seduction.

Cambridge student Serena Frome’s beauty and intelligence make her the ideal recruit for MI5. The year is 1972. The Cold War is far from over. England’s legendary intelligence agency is determined to manipulate the cultural conversation by funding writers whose politics align with those of the government. The operation is code named “Sweet Tooth.”

Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is the perfect candidate to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer named Tom Haley. At first, she loves his stories. Then she begins to love the man. How long can she conceal her undercover life? To answer that question, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage: trust no one.

Once again, Ian McEwan’s mastery dazzles us in this superbly deft and witty story of betrayal and intrigue, love and the invented self.

Sweet Tooth was the February pick for the virtual book club that I am a part of. I was truly excited to begin this novel after having such a great experience reading the January novel. Unfortunately for me, Sweet Tooth did not live up to my expectations. This was my first experience reading a novel by Ian McEwan even though I thoroughly enjoyed the film adaptation of Atonement. Based on these things, I was hoping for a moving and exciting novel from McEwan.

This, however, was not meant to be for me and this novel. I struggled a great deal to pick up this book and read it. Sweet Tooth took me about a month to read, and that for me is a long time for reading a book. I normally seem to eat books up and can’t stand to put them down, but in this case, I couldn’t seem to motivate myself to pick the book up. I did persevere and did not give up on reading this novel despite many nights where I was almost persuaded to not continue the novel if I was not enjoying it.

This book soon became a personal goal of mine to simply finish it. I had a very difficult time identifying with the main character, Serena. She was not a character that I could connect with because it seemed as though Serena’s personality and interests would change based on whichever guy she was dating at the time. I had expected with the involvement of Serena in the MI6 that the novel would be fast paced and intriguing, but for me this novel did not hold any of these things.

I am simply proud that I finished this novel, and I feel that is an accomplishment that I can share with my students when they struggle with reading a novel in class. This experience is one that I can use to try to reach my students and help them set goals for finishing things that they struggle. with.