Kathleen Dixon's Reviews > People of the Book

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
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's review
Nov 20, 2015

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-novels
Recommended to Kathleen by: Lynne
Read in March, 2009

It never ceases to amaze me how some people can assess a book as extraordinarily well-writtten and others can express their opinion of it as garbage! I've just been scrolling through the reviews here of this book and what a range. Admittedly, there are more 4 stars than 2 or 1, but some of the low star reviews were scathing.

A lot of the negative was geared at the chief protagonist, Hanna Heath, a book conservator, because they didn't like her character. I rather liked that she isn't just a nice-as-pie individual.

Other negatives criticized the movement of the storyline back and forth across the centuries. Personally, I found that really well done. I enjoyed the way that WE learnt a lot more about the history of the haggadah than Hanna ever did, and I found it a fascinating look at little scenarios of the history of the Jewish people in Europe and the Middle East over some 500 years. I also enjoyed the way that we DIDN'T get completion to any of the stories. That's the way life frequently is - we never get to find out what happened at the end of some fragment of somebody else's narrative.

I gave this book 5 stars because:
I couldn't put it down (not literally - I didn't read it in one sitting - but the last time was into the early hours of the morning because I really, really wanted to see how it all finished!)
I really enjoyed Hanna, a woman driven by her absolute dedication to and love of her work
I found the format of the book most enjoyable, with the modern-day story leading to historical snippets
I would read it again with great pleasure
The subject matter is one I'm greatly interested in (books, of course!, but also book conserving - fascinating; and religious and social history) - hmm, that's two subject matters - both of great interest to me.
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