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The Tin Drum
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Archive: Other Books > the tin drum | gunter grass | 5 stars

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Idit | 1028 comments The Tin Drum by Günter Grass

When Oskar was born, his mom promised she will give him a tin drum for his third birthday. His dad promised Oskar will work at his shop when he grows up. Oskar prefers a tin drum. On his third birthday he decided to stop growing.
This is Oskar's tale. It starts with his grandparents meeting on a potato field, where Anna Bronski hides Joseph Koljaiczek the  under her four skirts.
The story is very detailed and splendidly told. funny, smart, disturbing.
It follows Oskar's life in the 30s at Danzig, Poland and takes us through the rise of nazism, kristallnacht (in an unforgettable chapter), the fall of Poland in WWII, the end of the war, displacement, and the years after the war in Dusseldorf, Germany where, amongst many other things he writes about Germans having to deal with their stilted emotions at the Onion Cellar.

While not all chapters are equally good, the ones that are great are truly amazing, and the whole book is memorable. The nuns in france, the train trip at the end of the war, the russians taking over Danzig. 

It's a very original way to look at our crazy world (especially writing it only few years after the war. I can understand why someone would not want to take part of being an adult). 
It deals with growing, becoming a man, father-son relationships, art criticism, war, religion, relationships, purity of childhood, and then contrast it with horror of childhood. Oskar as jesus, as the devil, as the serpent.
It is funny, inventive, and very crazy.
I recommend it very much, but at the same time - it's worth noting that it's a very outrageous book 


Diane Zwang | 485 comments I will need to try and read this book at some point. I tried to read it once and gave up after a few pages. You make it sound so wonderful.


Idit | 1028 comments Diane wrote: "I will need to try and read this book at some point. I tried to read it once and gave up after a few pages. You make it sound so wonderful."

Have you seen the movie Diane?
because it's one of those rare occasions where they supp lamented each other rather than ruin - to me.

also, I used the audiobook, which was good, and supported it with reading. it's a good combo.

I'd love to hear what you think . There are some amazing chapters. (but also some disgusting ones).

If you are easily insulted... it's not going to work :)


message 4: by Meli (new)

Meli (melihooker) | 3685 comments I read this years ago and I don't know even how it fell on my radar because it is far removed from the types of books I am usually drawn to.

But I remember it being quite weird and disturbing and a little confusing.

Great review! Thanks for posting and taking me back to the time I read it. I had a kind of visceral reaction just seeing the title again :)


message 5: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue | 1404 comments I read this years ago in the 1980's.

I found the writing to be too good to put down. But the story itself was very disturbing. A very intense read!


message 6: by Michael (new)

Michael (mike999) | 569 comments Such a delightful review. This book has sat on my shelf quite a while, yet still whispers "read me". Now, why is it you wouldn't post this review on the general book review section? You could be nudging a lot more readers toward reading this. :-)


Idit | 1028 comments Sue wrote: "I read this years ago in the 1980's.

I found the writing to be too good to put down. But the story itself was very disturbing. A very intense read!"


I agree with every word Sue


Idit | 1028 comments Michael wrote: "Such a delightful review. This book has sat on my shelf quite a while, yet still whispers "read me". Now, why is it you wouldn't post this review on the general book review section? You could be nu..."

thanks Michael
good question... here's a confession - I feel very self conscious publishing even a sentence - so even though part of me is tempted to put the reviews in the public space (if nothing else so that I can reach them easily) - I feel 'exposed' because I won't have any control over who reads it
I'm basically shy of people I know from my day-to-day life reading it - while here in PBT I just put the review and withing few days/hours it disappears...

Does anyone else feels that way? I really am tempted to put them there


message 9: by Meli (new)

Meli (melihooker) | 3685 comments What is the general book review section??
I did not know that existed...

Regarding reviewing, I love to share my opinions of things I read and I enjoy reviewing and trying to perfect my reviews and find my voice, so I would personally like more views. I would like more interaction with my reviews, which I get none of the reviews posted from my profile.

But I definitely used to feel very self conscious of posting reviews. The more I do it though the more comfortable I become with my opinions and my voice.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Idit wrote: "Michael wrote: "Such a delightful review. This book has sat on my shelf quite a while, yet still whispers "read me". Now, why is it you wouldn't post this review on the general book review section?..."

You should do this. You have lovely reviews Idit.:) You made this book sound intriguing.


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