The Reader by Bernhard Schlink was the February book for the bloggers’ book club.
The book is set in Germany and Michael tells us his story. He is 15 when we first meet him and falls ill as he is walking home from school. Hanna who is in her 30’s stops to help him. When he has recovered he goes to find her and say thank you and they begin an affair.
Now this is where the book lost me. I felt so uncomfortable that this woman has seduced a 15-year-old, who is still a child. It turns out as you read the book that Hanna is illiterate. So it that supposed to make the affair alright?
I did finish the book and I have read some great reviews about it but it did nothing for me. I honestly didn’t care what happened to either Michael or Hanna.
The affair did end by the way. Although Michael meets up with Hanna in a court room in later life. She is on trial for crimes she committed in concentration camp and he is a law student. I won’t spoil it for you in case you want to read it.
I really fail at these reviews! Anyway please do check out the other’s who have a much better way with words. You can find them over at Lily’s blog. Also if any of you would like to join the book club feel free. It’s all done online so you don’t have to tidy your house or make tea 😉
Val, that’s the great thing about a book club … we never all agree on the same book. It would be very boring if we were all of the same opinion. (I think there was just one book in the whole year where our opinions were fairly similar.)
Long may dissension reign 🙂
It’s great to see what everyone else thinks of the different book. It also goes to show how many different views on a book there can be. 🙂
I agree with Lily! I can also see how the characters in the book would leave you cold – I felt the same way in one sense.
It’s a great book club, I’m really enjoying all the different opinions.
I felt the same way about their relationship. I also found it difficult to review without giving away major details of the story.
I’m glad I’m not the only one that found the relationship odd.
A fellow blogger Diane has just started a book club by invitation on Facebook and I’ve never been in one before so hugely looking forward to it. I can wholly understand your feelings on the subject and it must be very difficult to review books without spoliers. I would have probably put the book down before finishing it in this case which I guess is not really the point, but while I like a challenging read, it also has to be interesting and enjoyable. Look forward to reading some more of your reviews.
I hope you enjoy the book club. I really enjoy our one. I have given up on a couple of books though but I try to finish them all.
Sorry to hear you didn’t like it Val but I guess that is part of the fun, finding books you might never ordinarily have read. I haven’t been to the Castlecomer book club for about a year but have the book this month and am determined to go (we go to a lovely hotel which is nice – was amused by your comment on not having to tidy the house), but I have read 2 chapters of the book and hate it!!
I love reading all the different books. I find it really interesting and it’s especially great when I find one I love that I would never have picked up without the book club.
Hi Val I felt uncomfortable with the relationship too but in the film he doesn’t seem like 15. I enjoyed it in that it stayed with me and I liked that it was short and not drawn out interminably. Difficult subject at the best of times – the book I’m reading now is Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America – and it’s chilling too! I’ve to go to book club now and felt nothing much for the book – Diana Athill’s Somewhere towards the end. She’s a cold fish, I felt.
I felt the same as you about this and why do I feel so guilty when it had such great reviews? I’m enjoying reading lots of books at the moment so it’s just unfortunate this isn’t one of them.
I suppose what some people enjoy other’s don’t. The book wouldn’t make me want to see the film.
Val if you failed then so did I! Both Michael and Hanna left me cold, I found the book to be too unemotional when it was trying to deal with some very big issues.
I read this book last year found it ok, reading The Help at the moment,
I’m kind of put of Bernhard now after The Reader.