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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink~★★★

Author: Bernhard Schlink
Title:
The Reader
Release Date:
Mti Edition, December 30th, 2008
Publisher:
Vintage
Genre:
Fiction

Back Cover: "When fifteen-year-old Michael Berg falls ill on his way home from school, he is rescued by Hanna, a woman twice his age. In time she becomes his lover, enthralling him with her passion, but puzzling him with her odd silences. Then she disappears.
Michael next sees Hanna when she is on trial for a hideous crime, refusing to defend herself. As he watches, he begins to realize that Hanna may be guarding a secret she considers more shameful than murder."
Taryn's Review: I liked the book, but I felt very emotionally distant from this book at the same time. Michael told the story very unemotionally, so I really never felt the passion, the heat, the pain from Michael's point of view.

Hanna was a mystery throughout the book. She was very odd in her behavior toward Michael. One moment she bathed him, but in the next she wanted nothing to do with him. Michael finally discovered the reason for some of her outbursts, but it was years too late and by that point, Hanna had condemned herself to a life sentence in prison for her role as an SS guard in WWII.

I think the question here was if Michael really loved Hanna or if he loved her the way he originally thought he had. At the end of the book I asked myself if Michael was doing his deeds to Hanna out of love or if he was doing them out of pity for her, or perhaps even out of guilt for his lack of action during Hanna's trial.

The end of the book was shocking to me. Hanna again threw Michael for a loop that neither he nor I saw coming, but if we would have looked at her history, it may have told us that Hanna never changed at all and history would indeed repeat itself in one form or another. I wouldn't say not to read this book, but it's one that will take more effort than simply picking the words up off of the pages.

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