Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

Year Published: 1995

My Rating: 3 stars

224 pages

Distance: New York, New York = 6383.1 miles/ 10272.5 kilometers

First of all this is an Oprah book for those who don't know! I didn't realize it when I started it, but while I was already in the middle of the book.

The story is set in Germany post WWII. It starts with Michael Berg a 15 year old boy getting sick while on his way home, a lady sees him, cleans him up and takes him home. When he is better his mom tells him to go thank the lady so he does.. Only to see her in an unappropraite position. When Hanna sees him, he runs away, only to visit her again a couple of days later. He helps her bring up coal to her apartment and gets dirty in the process so she offers him a bath.. Then they kind of fall for each other and begin an affair for a while. He started reading to her before their ritual bath and roll in the hay!

Then one day she disappears with absolutly no trace!

Eight years later, he is attending a trial since he is studying law and one of the defendants is no other than Hanna!

He attended every single day of the trial.. trying to understand what has happened.. and happening in his life.. and during this time he discovers a secret she has been trying to hide from him and the whole world even if hiding it would give her a harder prison sentence.

When she is sentenced, he starts to read to her as he used to but through tapes he sends to her..

If I write more than that I will spoil the story so I'll stop here..

It took me awhile to write this review because of my mixed opinions about it, I liked the first part of it but the trial was boring, with too much details that didn't seem to add to the story.. The "Kid's" emotions were quite explainable, since she was his first love and the affair kind of "scarred" him for any other relationships because he was always comparing the other women with her.. but I didn't understand why he did not reveal her secret to help her or even talk her into revealing it herself!

The end was ok but I wanted a better ending! I can't say I hated the book, I liked it but that was it.. not a favorite nor a recommendation to anyone.. but I want to see the movie to compare ..

It's right there with Beloved and Atonement for me..! Well maybe a teeny bit better :)


Blodeuedd said...

maybe, maybe not, maybe just watch the movie, we'll see :)

Jo-Jo said...

This book didn't knock my socks off either. Very good review of it.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I impulsively bought the book at Target, but have yet to pick it up. I'll probably end up reading it, but am wondering about it now...

ds said...

I liked this one (not great love, but like).Have not yet read Atonement (though the College Student raved) But Beloved is one of my all time favorites. The Reader is a toughie because it asks its reader to sympathize with a character who is not in many ways at all sympathetic. In this case, it may be asking too much.

Bella Foxx said...

I have the book read parts of it. I happened to like Atonement, maybe I'll like this one too.

I've tagged you. Check it out (or not up to you) at my blog, Bella Foxx's Life.

The Book Resort said...

I didn't think the book was all that when Oprah first announced it as an Oprah Book Club Pick.

I believe this will be a case of film being better than the book. lol.

DeSeRt RoSe said...

Blodeuedd, I'm guessing the movie would be better :)

Jo-Jo, thanks! I was afraid I would be the only one not LOVING the book :)

Sandy, read it, you might like it :) if not at least you can give us your opinion :)

ds, I guess you are right :)

Bella, maybe you will love it :) thanks for the tag ;)

The Book Resort, I'm thinking the same about the movie being better.. but I'm yet to finish it :)

Toni said...

Thank you for the Review. I want to read this one and see the movie. I have been waiting to have an open mind when I do both. :) Thanks again.

DeSeRt RoSe said...

Toni, that's great do tell me what you think of the book when you read it :) I love different opinions :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for the review, I have this book on my TBR shelf and I wanted to read it several times and then kept putting it off. Thanks to you at least now I know what to expect and look forward to. I'm glad you reviewed it.

TexasRed said...

This is kind of how I felt. The subject matter just made this book hard for me to really enjoy and I didn't understand why he didn't at least talk to her about revealing the secret. I haven't seen the movie, but please let me know if you enjoy it (or enjoy more than the book).

DeSeRt RoSe said...

Lilly, thanks.. I'm glad to me of help :)

TexasRed, yes exactly.. why didn't he talk to her?! If he was still the young boy I would have excused him but he was an adult!!
I will tell you when I do finish the movie :)

Anonymous said...

Nice post...funnily enough, I was completely unmoved by the affair. Things started to get interesting for me only during the trial.

And from then onwards, I loved the book...

Read my review of it here:

Hope you like it

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