Book Review of The Reader

The Reader
reviewed on + 84 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3


Michael Berg is a 15 year old German boy, who falls ill from hepatitis and literally collapses in front of Hanna Schmitz, a woman in her early 30s who tends to him and sends him home. Later she becomes his lover, and then she vanishes. Years later when he sees her next, Michael is a law student and she is on trial for war crimes.

The Reader is an amazing work on so many levels - romantic, historic, psychological, philosophical, morality, even criminal justice, to name a few. The day I started reading this my aunt Harriet sent me an article she wrote about my Jewish great-grandmother having escaped Germany for America prior to the Holocaust, and about her family who perished in the camps. Harriet had an exchange student "sister" from Germany in highschool, and combined a visit to Grandma Sophie's birth home in 1975 with a reunion with her homestay sister. The two had a heated discussion about Harriet wanting to visit the concentration camps in Dachau, "Ika begged her not to go (her generation had not caused World War II and didn't want to be blamed for or even reminded of it)."

For me, this book really gives the Holocaust scale. I can clearly see how subsequent generations have been affected. And as an illustration as to how power of the written word can affect someone! I'm so glad I read this before seeing the movie, loved this book, love that it's written by a German judge.