Gretchen's Reviews > People of the Book

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
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's review
Apr 14, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, historical-fiction
Read from April 14 to May 04, 2010

** spoiler alert ** I found this book to be really interesting. Basically, the book follows a young book conservator, Hanna, as she seeks to reconstruct the Sarajevo Haggadah. Along the way she finds different things in the book -- an insect's wing, a wine stain, a hair -- which lead to her curiousity about how these things ended up in the book. Between the chapters that discuss the happenings of Hanna's contemporary life are chapters about the various people who came into contact with the Haggadah over its 500 year history.

I definitely found the parts about the Haggadah's past history to be more interesting than the parts with Hanna herself. Hanna is not an extremely likable person so I didn't always care that much about what happened to her. For most of the book her chapters seem to just be a device by which the author can connect all of the other stories.

I really liked the chapter about the slave girl who originally drew the pictures. I think that one was my favorite. Such an interesting idea, and really beautiful to me.

This book was heading for a 4-star rating until I hit the last 50 pages or so. I didn't really understand what was the point of suddenly having the haggadah that ended up in the museum be a fake, and then having Hanna go back to Australia and never touch a book again for the next 6 years until it's finally realized that the book is actually a fake. I don't understand why the author suddenly felt the need to add in all this intrigue at the very end. She was probably trying to add some kind of crazy plot twist, but at that point, I felt like the story was over and having all that stuff happen at the very end was just annoying to me. So I gave it 3 stars, based on the superfluous events of the ending.

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