Saturday, October 24, 2009

Book Review: The Reader


After receiving help from a woman while he had fallen ill, Michael Berg's life changes forever. Hanna is like no woman he has met before, and she shows him a totally different side of life. They spend one summer together, taking bike rides through the German country side and every night Hanna asks Michael to read to her, and soon he is falling completely in love with her. But then one day, she disappears and doesn't see her for years, but instead goes on with his life and becomes a lawyer. While in school, he joins a seminar where they get to go to real trials and figure out the case for themselves. The trial they observe is the convicting of guards of the concentration camps shortly after World War II ended, and there, to his surprise is Hanna. Michael questions everything he knew about her and the secrets she has always kept inside.
I found this book to be completely mesmerizing. The characters grabbed your attention and you quickly started caring about them and tried along with Michael to see past Hanna's pretenses. The story can be quite sad, especially during the trial after hearing the horrible things the Jews went through at these concentration camps, things Hanna took part in. More than great storytelling, is a character study which discusses ethics, shame, and who should be blamed for the horrors that was the Holocaust. I would definitely recommend this for anyone who loves a historic novel and want a novel that goes deeper into human nature, and most importantly, the power of love. Grade: A

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