Jennifer's Reviews > The Reader

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
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's review
Mar 14, 2008

did not like it
Read in March, 2008

This book just fell short with me, on oh so many levels. One thing that did intrigue me and that I have not yet seen much of is the perspective of Germans after the Holocaust and their views on the Third Reich and Hitler's agenda, especially of the younger generation of that time. That was really the only thing that struck me about this book. The rest was just not enough. For one, the affair between MIchael and Hanna was deplorable. Is it supposed to not be as bothersome because it is an older woman with a teenage boy, rather than an older man with a teenage girl? Either way, in my opinion, it's just not palatable and I felt neither sympathy for either of the characters nor did I feel that it was relatable on many levels at all whatsoever. The writing fell flat for me and was rather dry. Not in the beautiful sparse language trends of Hemingway, but in an annoying succinct manner that just left each situation as it occurred "as is" with nothing left to ponder. I noticed that this novel has won awards and while it means absolutely nothing to me because her choices are not always great or even good in the least, but it was on Oprah's Book Club list a number of years back. Neither are good enough reasons for anyone to read this book, in my opinion. Spare yourselves and read a nice historical account of Germany after the Holocaust, if you are inclined. I am sure it would be much richer reading in any case than this novel.
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03/16/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Jeanne I agree. The characters were flat and the 'secret' that was revealed at the end of the book was evident from the first few pages.

message 2: by Gail (new) - rated it 1 star

Gail after the above comment, I may have to look at the last chapter. I couldn't get past page 30.

Heather I don't take issue with you not liking the book, I just want to put out there that, to me, it doesn't seem like you're supposed to be comfortable with Michael and Hanna's relationship. I also don't think either characters were intended to be particularly likable, but for me that doesn't make the story any less interesting

message 4: by Hkvontrapp (new)

Hkvontrapp there's stuff out there on germanys sense of national self after the war. try gunter grass. the good German, can't remember the author tho (an English guy) deals with all the major themes an a highly topical and modern way. its an interesting area, generates interesting literature

message 5: by Crazymary (last edited Oct 02, 2012 08:23AM) (new)

Crazymary Jane I don't know...I disagree. I couldn't put the book down. Part of my mind thought 'this woman is pretty messed up to be messing with a 15 yr old boy' but on the other it sort of reminded me of SUMMER OF 42. (A slight feel). I felt sad for the main character and the author without getting into too many details and pages was able to make me have some sense of 'liking and/or intrigue' w/the main characters. He seemed so lonely. I pictured this book as I read it in 'black and white' . Yes, I too by the middle of the book pretty much figured out her other secret. I think you're being way too hard on the book. But that is me. It sure beat the fascination with the 50 SHADES OF GREY mess.

message 6: by Irene (new)

Irene Jennifer...very eloquently stated! I couldn't have said it better myself!

Trish Part of me wishes I had read this before touching the book. Could have saved myself the time and frustration of forcing myself to finish this book. The other part of me says I still would have read it to see if I agreed that it was bad. I disliked the book the whole way through because of the stale writing and ramblings that had no real substance.

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