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
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  • First Published:
    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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Gerry (08/19/03)

I really liked the way the author asked questions which made me stop and think. The ideas he was trying to express often times made me wonder if things in my life were similar to his. I must have read the book 2 or three times because the thoughts pulled me in that direction. I could not let go and continue reading till I thought it all out. I enjoyed the love story, as far as the holocaust portion it was horrible (but all of the them are). I keep thinking if I were the character Michael would I have done the same??? I don't know. I highly recommend the book.
Joe Niswonger (06/25/03)

As an American university student reading this novel in its native German language, I was absolutely captivated by its colorful descriptions and depictions of characters, who became real living people far before the end of the novel. I believe it is a common complaint of people who read books that have been translated. I am happy to have read it in German, while being in Germany. Michael and Hanna have real places in this book and act as real people, often involving themselves in difficult decisions and predicaments. I would recommend this book to anyone who would like an unglamorized glimpse into the frailty and compassion of the human heart.
zollygirl (05/21/03)

This was a great book and couldn't put it down.
mal (04/17/03)

i like this book because it was easy for me to understand. It was sorta hard because i have to write an essay on a major theme that what i think schlink is telling us and stuff like that. I was hoping i reach at least 6 pages but i barely have 3pages. Could not really find any good quotes to use and i wrote about illiterate and how it affects relationship.. i can finish the book in one day and when i read the first chapter it makes me want to read more and know what happen next.
VeryMinnie (03/25/03)

This book was difficult to put down and I finished it within a few days.

I thought it displayed the power that love & passion has in a person's life.
Also, sympathy and forgiveness was displayed towards all who lived through the Holocaust.

It's an excellent book.
S.L. B. (01/15/03)

I'll be honest...I didn't finish reading the book,it just got so impossibly boring! Drawn out,bland and gray in color. I can
see where it might be appealing to some but not to me. This was a good book as far as writing goes but I very much hope
the aurthor does better on the next one.
Anonymous (01/07/03)

best book ever written
Your Mum (11/10/02)

Having read and finished the reader one gets to know the characters very well. One is absorbed into the motions and the actions of each of the main characters. Throughout the book one can always sense a part of Hanna’s naivety and her simple perspective of life. In this situation there is no right or wrong. Whichever option she took some would sympathise, others wouldn’t.
   It is easy for me to argue that she shouldn’t have let those people die – it is the obvious humane answer. But one cannot ignore there was a war on; people were going to die. Hanna thought she was in the right by doing her duty. So did all of her colleagues. The difference between her and her colleagues is that they understood what they had done wrong. She didn’t. I am trying to look at this situation without any hindsight as to what happens but as if I have only read up to this point in the book.
   It is incorrect to say following orders is a sufficient excuse for any action. Of course it is. But why? If I was your boss and told you to jump off a cliff would you? I know I wouldn’t, and thus I do not have this feeble excuse for jumping of a cliff. It is a similar scenario. Obviously my version was far more radical and extreme. Hanna knew she was sending these people to die. She says ‘the new ones came, and the old hat to make room for the new ones. So she clearly knew that she was sending these ‘ones’ to their death. My argument is no matter how strongly someone pushes you; you do not break the barrier of life and death.
   In a way when Hanna phrased the question to the judge it could be considered the right thing to do. It threw him into an unpleasant position. This didn’t help her legal court case; it put the judge into a situation where whatever the outcome he would seem in the wrong. What it did do however was infuriate the judge giving him a bad view on Hanna. Michael attends as part of a legal seminar, and the discussion of the trial. He understands what is happening and helps explain it to the reader. With his knowledge the reader gets into the situation and can understand what is happening and how it is so difficult. The Judge is sympathetic towards Hanna; he like Michael understands that she doesn’t understand what she is doing wrong or the problems her question could cause her. When she looks at him she tries to communicate with him, she is desperate.
   One might argue that Hanna didn't wilfully collaborate with Hitler's genocide and that her decisions were driven only by a desire to hide her secret. I personally would argue this point as my main argument and would say that this alone exonerates Hanna.
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