Reader reviews and comments on The Reader, plus links to write your own review.

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The Reader

By Bernhard Schlink

The Reader
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Mar 1999,
    218 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 1999,
    218 pages.

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There are currently 30 reader reviews for The Reader
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Karmell Spreng (05/28/08)

The Reader Review by Karmell Spreng
The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink, is a contemporary fiction novel. It is basically an autobiographical novel about a teenager who is with an older woman who suddenly just goes away but they meet again years later when the boy is a law student visiting a trial about war crimes.

This novel has a couple different themes such as love, betrayal, and guilt. The theme of love and betrayal is between many of the characters through out the novel. I also feel that guilt is between several characters as well, which makes it a good book. Having themes such as love, betrayal, and guilt kind of makes it easier to get you into the book because it makes you wonder what will come of certain instances in the novel and how things will turn out in the end.

At first this book seems to be just a book about two people in love and things that could occur to anyone. The further you get into the book, and after knowing that it is taken place in post war Germany, you start to get the Holocaust twist of this book and it gets really good.

The character’s personalities throughout the book are very interesting and very easy to follow and what they do and say kind of leads to what comes of the rest of the book. Also how the author wrote this novel and how he made the characters made the whole book itself very easy to read and I liked how the writing style was in this book.

If you enjoy a good book you will like reading this novel. If you enjoy stories about the Holocaust I think you would love this novel. And lastly if you enjoy a book that has truth and real life events that is so suspenseful you can not put it down I hope you choose to read this novel. Before I read this book I was told that it was good and that I would like it. Now I would like to tell others to read it because I feel that it was a very good book and I would definitely recommend it to others and I would read it again myself.
Tia (01/10/08)

The Reader-Final Review
You would think that because I have grown up in a small farm town in Ohio, it would be difficult to envision what life looked like in a shabby German city years after the Holocaust. Not while reading The Reader. The way that Bernard Schlink wrote this book made me feel like I was seeing everything through the eyes of main characters Michael Berg and Hanna Schmidt. I saw in my mind the growing love connection of two unlike people and felt the disappointment and heartbreak that both experienced as secrets were unveiled in a surprising manner.

What I loved most about his book is the fact that even though it was set in Germany- a place whose history is packed with betrayal, hate, war and unforgiving acts- the connection between Hanna and Michael somehow still lingers underneath everything.

In a situation where two characters have been deeply hurt by each other and by past experiences, the question of whether their connection can be re-kindled is totally up in the air. If you want to feel the connection between these characters and see how they end up at the end of The Reader, then you definitely need to read the book!

[This review has been edited for length and to remove plot spoilers]
Chelsey Slusser (01/10/08)

The Reader
There are several themes corresponding in the book. The first theme the reader picks up on is love and betrayal between Hanna and Michael. The second is guilt which is seen through out the entire book. Last is illiteracy which is brought up in the beginning but the reader doesn’t figure it out until the trial.

The novel’s genre is like a mystery of Hanna’s life, an adventure through Michael’s life and a romance due to their affair. The book is like a mystery because the reader, along with Michael, wonders why Hanna went away and what her secret and her past is.

I really enjoyed the book and would definitely read it again. If you enjoy learning about the Holocaust, you will like this book even though its fiction. The Reader is a great read and keeps you thinking. I hope you enjoy it as much as I!
[This review has been edited to remove plot spoilers]
mark k (04/27/06)

unfortunate display of bad writing and inaccurate exposure
ive read the reviews of several people swooning over this book. i really would like to be able to say that there was part of this item that i enjoyed or found useful, but sadly, i am here writing this review without many merits to it.

the story is absurd and perhaps idiomatic in context. people like joe niswonger are clueless as to the treachery this book is bound to cause by giving elementary level readers an unrealistic mockery of the german language, in both written form and in dialogue.

many of the people that i know that were impressed by this book in their foreign studies were many of the same people that did not perform to maximum potential.

statistically, this is a book for the casualties.
erin (02/25/05)

this book sucked the big one. it just drags on and i felt no sympathy for these characters. this guy talks way too much and it is very hard to finish the book. BORING!!
Rose (07/27/04)

The book was AMAZING. So simple but yet the issues raised are complex. Also the ideas of the first genration and the second genration after the war...how the war made the people of both genration suffer. Eventhough the second generation wasn't in the war but it sufferned iin differnt ways. Quite amazing...the ideas raised in here are no where found. This book can really take you back to that time and experince and feel the things which the first and the second genration did.
Mariann (09/23/03)

Although I'm not a big fiction fan, I loved this book. It is so tragic, but not in a Romeo and Juliet sort of way. Its more profound than that. I liked how the author expresses the main character's emotional and moral struggles aloud. The way Micheal is always going back and forth with his thoughts and feelings brings him to life, and has us pondering what we would do in his shoes.
Bubblz (09/07/03)


The book was fantastic. I am studying it for my final year and it opens your eyes to the raw human emotions that are shown and portrayed through the characters. It covers all levels, and makes the reader realise what happened post war and that the people are still suffering for it.
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