Friday, December 19, 2008

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

Jackie read this years ago and recommended it. The story involves a German boy of 15 being seduced by an older woman and a quasi reunion years later. There is much more but it would take away from the reading to reveal the remaining plot.

You know I take literary characters to heart and like a story more if I like the main character. In this case both Jackie and I are uncertain of how we feel about either the boy or the woman. They are both flawed. Although the woman's seduction of the boy and also actions she took prior to meeting the boy are worse on the surface than those of the boy, I found myself more sympathetic to the woman. There is a court scene where she asks a judge in her trial what he would have done in her situation. She didn't ask the question as a calculated move; she truly could not see other options that may have been available to her. The boy was cold in his relationships after parting from the woman and perhaps it was due to the affair or is just how he is. Regardless, he had the power to make a number of relationships better and did not.

The book is a sparely written 218 pages that could be finished in one day. If you are thinking of seeing the movie that is just arriving in theaters, read the book first. I can't tell if any of our bloggers will love this, hate this, or be in between. I think I'm in between.

1 comment:

Becky said...

I read this upon mom's recommendation a few years ago and felt the same way...I liked it more than not, but think maybe I'll end up re-reading it again. Nice review!