This is a novel set in post-war Germany. The main character is a fifteen year old boy who fell in love to a thirty six year old wo...moreSpoilers everywhere!
This is a novel set in post-war Germany. The main character is a fifteen year old boy who fell in love to a thirty six year old woman. The first part of the book is mostly about their sexual relationship. It is pages and pages of sex after sex after sex. What makes it different from the books I've read before is that this is about a forbidden sexual romance of a young boy and a mature woman whereas in most books it is old man and young girl. The sex scenes are written pretty well and even if it is a weird and controversial one I enjoyed reading it from the boy's point of view. (I saw the movie trailer by the way and it felt gross and wrong to see Kate Winslet's touching a teenager).
The second part is about the meeting of the boy and the woman in a court room (they have been separated at the end of the first part). The woman was charged with murder because her past job was a guard of a camp. If you are familiar with the Holocaust these camps are where the German guards placed the Jews and then after some time they will kill the Jews using the gas chambers. So this is the woman's work, she was alleged to be the leader of the guards and the one who was responsible at the accident that happen. That night of the accident the church where the guards kept the Jews was bombed. The bomb caused the fire. It started on the church's roof. The Jews inside the church started yelling but the guards outside the church did not help them escape. The gates of the church remained locked. Then the Jews inside the church were burned to death. She confessed that she did not unlock the gate because she decided that it might cause panic and maybe they can't control the Jews if they open the gate. She also admitted that she's the one who wrote the report (the boy who is narrating the story will reveal that the woman can't write that report because she's illiterate). The woman chose to admit that she committed murder rather than blew her cover-up that she's illiterate.
It's hard to understand the character of this woman named Hanna. While reading it I tried to analyze why did she make that choice. I'm trying to put myself on her situation and I'm still wondering if I would do the same thing given that I love reading books. Would I chose to admit that I'm illiterate to prove my innocence? It's a hard decision but I think maybe the character believed that she will be charged guilty no matter what she say so she chose to at least retained her cover that she's literate.
I only gave it three stars because I felt that the idea of the book is excellent but somehow the author didn't execute it well. I wished there are more dialogues and the characterization is more in-depth. Sometimes the narration is too lengthy and I felt like I'm distanced from the character's feelings. The monologue of the narrator is too long it felt like reading an essay rather than a novel. The author will spoon-fed the reader with a lot of ideas it makes it boring and irritating. It seems like he wants to say something but I felt lost with his words. It is false eloquence, I think the author thinks the longer he explained something the better ;p. However, I still recommend this book or (maybe watch the movie.)
Can't wait to read this. It was given to me by the Traveling Books in The Filipino Group in Goodreads ^^
5 out of 5 stars I got this book from The Trave...moreCan't wait to read this. It was given to me by the Traveling Books in The Filipino Group in Goodreads ^^
5 out of 5 stars I got this book from The Traveling Books in The Filipino Group in goodreads.com. It originally came from Han and then was given to Po and then it was my turn.
I did not immediately read this, however, and it took me months to finish reading this. Even my younger sister told me that she observed that I got too long to finish reading this book when she was accustomed in seeing me read a book in a day or in a week.
It's not that it's terrible. My problem at first was the beginning was slow and I was not intrigued enough to read it continuously. And since I am a polygamous reader I read a lot of books while trying to read this one. And there are times that I almost forgot reading it and since I got weary because I need to give this to the next person who is Tricia in the Christmas Party of The Filipino Group in goodreads.com. I decided to read it and finish it even if I'm really busy.
You might probably wondering why I still gave it 5 stars even though it took me months to read it. Actually, regardless of me being lazy to finish it. It was a really good novel. It has a beautiful writing and the characters are likable. The story is excellent. The layers of the story are written very well. Though I have to say that this novel is for mature readers.
In fact, when I was reading it at first I thought that it was a novel for children and then it was the type of novel that will engage children to read since the novel is all about passion for reading books and the main character is a bookworm.
However, the moment I read a sex scene in the book I realized that it's not what I thought it would be. And then there are other mature themes in the book like wife battery, incest, murder, and a lot of sex scenes too. So, really not for kids.
Weird enough, now that I finished it I have this feeling that I want to read it again. Since this is a mystery novel, a lot of the truths were revealed in the end of the book. And I just wanted to read it again in a perspective that I already knew the secrets and the mysteries of the stories. However, I knew that I really don't have the opportunity to do that.
I just thought it was amazing how these characters and these characters have met and their lives were changed because of that. It was just amazing. I can't really explain it very well, but as I've said I really loved this book.
I think I’m one of the few fortunate people in Goodreads who actually have been given 3 free books, as of this year 2011 (And I’m talking of real, tan...moreI think I’m one of the few fortunate people in Goodreads who actually have been given 3 free books, as of this year 2011 (And I’m talking of real, tangible books not just e-books). First I've won in the Goodreads Giveaways (I’m not confabulating its really true) and I’ve got two books Envy and Chill Factor by Sandra Brown delivered at my doorstep and it was autographed…Oh My Gosh.
And then my luck of receiving free books doesn’t end there. This book that I’m reviewing Before Ever After was given as a birthday gift by Ms. Samantha Sotto, the author of this book. If you’re wondering how it happened, if I received it because I won again in a giveaway or if the author is my friend in real life, no that was not how it happened.
What happened was I added this book in my gargantuan to-read list and then when I was reading the book info I noticed that the book will come out on my birthday which is August 2. And then I wrote a review saying, “You know what, this book will come out on my birthday. :) No kidding. I love it already,” and then Ms. Sam Sotto have read my review and gave me a message that she love to give me a copy of her book on my birthday.
And I was like:
Of course since that was really cute and sweet and heartwarming that the author herself has read my review and she even think of giving me a book on my birthday *sniff sniff* (which was actually a first time for me, even though I really love books I never got them as birthday presents, however I got a home library as a graduation present).
Okay to make a super long story short I’ve met Sam personally during the 5th meet up of The Filipino Group in Goodreads and she handed it to me and I’ve even got the chance to have it autographed.
And this is how it looked like: ***Die envious folks...teehee***
So okay done with the introduction and now let's get into reviewing...to be more organized I'm going to write the pros and then the cons...
So here goes.
Pros: 1. I really like the short stories/subplots/folktales inside the story. I can't really explain it but these stories are really unique and they are really interesting. The first subplot (something about a revolution)I think while reading it I even say a bad word out loud because I was just really shocked and thank goodness I was alone in my bedroom so no one really heard me utter those bad words.
And then the second subplot was my favorite of all (it was the Basilisk Story) I remember the format was kind of similar to the Shrieking Shack story of the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. To make it more clear (I think if you’re a Potter fan, you’ll understand what I’m saying) do you remember when I think Hermione told Ron about the story of a ghost howling in the Shrieking Shack and that’s how it got it name (Shrieking..Get it?) And then later in the story we learned the truth that it was not a ghost but (view spoiler)[Lupin when he transformed into a werewolf that makes the sound (hide spoiler)]. So in this book it was similar to that, there’s a story about a Basilisk but later the true story about it came out.
Also I like the very last story, the story of Maximus and Livia. It was another great subplot and I remember I even have palpitations reading it. It was just intense, I can’t really describe it.
2. I like how she can write from one genre to another. First it was a mystery and then there’s romance, there’s adventure, there’s historical fiction mix with fantasy and supernatural and then there’s also humor. She can make me laugh, sometimes I feel intrigued and then it can be sweet, it can be tragic, it can be informative. It was a mix of light and heavy. The heaviness of the subplots which in general are tragic stories is lightened and layered by the humor of Max and the campers. She can also play with different timelines, different settings and different characters and that made me decide that this book is a book that is hard to write, it has its complexities and despite the fact that there are things that I didn’t like I still think that it deserve a 5 star rating, not just because the author gave this to me and I owe her a good review but I think she really deserve it because of the fact that she have write a good novel.
Cons: 1. The one thing that I didn’t like in this book was the ending. While I was reading Maximus and Livia’s story as I’ve mentioned I was having palpitations and I was like I’ll give the book a solid five stars but then come to the end of the book I was disappointed because the ending was made in such a haste. I think the epilogue has only four sentences and I know it was (view spoiler)[a happy ending (hide spoiler)] but it was really confusing and I’m not really sure if the elements of (view spoiler)[Immortality, how Max became immortal was properly explained, how Shelly became Immortal as well (hide spoiler)] It was very confusing, I didn’t quite get it. But still I think minus the unclear ending it was a good read. I recommend it to all my friends and to Ms. Samantha Sotto, congratulations on your debut novel. I’ll look forward for more. (less)