Customer Reviews for

The Reader

Average Rating 4
( 457 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(167)

4 Star

(141)

3 Star

(85)

2 Star

(36)

1 Star

(28)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Excellent

This is possibly one of the most entrhalling translated pieces I've read. It bypasses The Stranger by miles. Very hartwarming and, yet, disturbing. If you have ever taken the simple skill of reading for granted this novel will force you to think upon it.

posted by Anonymous on May 5, 2003

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Why all the hooplaa?

The way everyone ranted and raved about this book lead me to believe it would be fantastic! What a let down. Oprah, why such great reviews on this book? I've read much more interesting books than this. I give it a low one star rating.

posted by Anonymous on January 21, 2000

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2003

    Excellent

    This is possibly one of the most entrhalling translated pieces I've read. It bypasses The Stranger by miles. Very hartwarming and, yet, disturbing. If you have ever taken the simple skill of reading for granted this novel will force you to think upon it.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    excellent way to reveal generational differences of national pain.

    Very easy read. the first half of the book is sensual, sexual, and lulls you into a very comfortable exploration of forbidden love reminiscent of The Graduate. The characters could have been any two people in any country or time, sharing intimate encounters and a love of literature. Then the heartbreak of losing his first lover unexplainably seems to fit right into the assumed genre. But the second half of the book had me spellbound, trying to balance the inhumane horror of the woman on trial with the woman previously in love. I won't spoil the ending for anyone who hasn't read it or seen the movie. But the author reveals the woman's motivations slowly while highlighting the boy's and societies' inability to separate the whats from the whys. I was especially impressed with the author's exploration of the generational blame of a country humiliated by the horrors of genocide.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 1, 2009

    Lacks Motivation

    While a relatively interesting read, it lacks heart. What others may see as good writing, I cannot seem to get past the fact that Hanna, the main female character, has really no motivation for anything she does. Why does she choose to sleep with the narrator? Why does she choose to be a guard for a concentration camp? Why does she hide her secret?<BR/><BR/>Being told from a perspective other than Hanna's obviously has its flaws. The narrator spends more time discussing the history of concentration camps than figuring out why Hanna is who she is.<BR/><BR/>Interesting read, but maybe the movie will do a better job at explaining things.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2008

    Amazing.

    I read the book in a day. I though it was extremly well written. I kept thinking about this book even after I had finished it. I felt really close to Michael. When he hurt, so did I. I loved his views on Frau Schmitz. I really really enjoyed this boosk. It was reaaly a beautiful story....

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2000

    Why all the hooplaa?

    The way everyone ranted and raved about this book lead me to believe it would be fantastic! What a let down. Oprah, why such great reviews on this book? I've read much more interesting books than this. I give it a low one star rating.

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Reader

    Greetings B and N customers.
    I recently read The Reader and was so surprised by the simplistic writing style of Mr. Schlink. It was difficult to get thru the emotional roller-coaster of the main character- Hanna, but once you realize why her emotions are leaving little to be desired, you will fully understand the depth at to which she had to hide her "true" self. I had a disappointing experience reading this, mainly because the main character, Michael, reveals so much about himself, whereas Hanna holds so much back- you feel like lterally throwing the book across the room.
    Very frustrating read overall, yet when her secret is eventually revealed, you can kind of see why Hanna was such a tortured soul, so to speak. I hated how he was treated by her. And yes it's true, in the end, he wound up truly understanding what an embarassment it would be for her to admit her illiteracy than it was for her to go on trail to admit her crimes of tourturing people in Nazi germany. Wow, how messed up is that?!?!?!
    The writing is simplistic, but the subject matter is very deep. Please, watch the movie as well, and make your own decisions. It was a quick yet VERY FRUSTRATING read, mainly toward the characters emotions. Other than that, definately not for the faint of heart, but yes, the sex scenes were pretty nice.
    I hope this review was helpful. Take care and happy reading!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I read it again, as I didn't want to leave the story from myself

    What makes it so impressive, this novel? It's presented as largely autobiographic, and it is really written with passion, as the author wanted to get finally free of his obsessions. Of course, it is impossible to get the real autobiographical elements, and, after all, once a book is written it becomes a fiction: it is about its own universe, different from the universe of the author.

    What is this book about? Is it mainly about Hanna, the woman who had become an SS criminal because she was trying to cover her illiteracy?

    Well, no. It is mainly about him, about The Reader, Der Vorleser (the German language is here more exact: The One Who Reads Aloud, more precisely The One Who Reads Aloud To Be Listened). He is the main character, the book is about his reactions toward Hanna. It is about him discovering through Hanna his erotic awakening, then about him discovering the secret of Hanna (her illiteracy), and so, through Hanna, discovering the banality of evil.

    Let's make here a short break: it is a book about the problematic of the Holocaust; what makes it original is maybe not the fact that Hanna is not a victim but a perpetrator; what makes it a great book is that it speaks forcefully about the banality of evil. Hanna did not commit her crimes because she was hating Jews, or because she was believing in any of Nazi ideas; she was simply trying to cover her illiteracy and any other aspect was unimportant for her. As simple as that!

    But this is not the only greatness. There is another one, overwhelming: his coming to terms with Hanna.

    You see, a complex of love/hate/guilt is crossing the whole story, from the beginning to the end. He loves Hanna, he hates her, as he is horrified by the evil. So love/hate, while the guilt, I mean his guilt, is ever present. At the beginning an unclear Freudian complex, at the trial the guilt that he loves a criminal, in the end the guilt that he cannot stand firmly on her side!

    The solution the hero finds in himself, to read aloud book after book and to send the cassettes to the prison, to be listened there by Hanna, this is really overwhelming: someone could be a horrible criminal, but she or he remains a human being and keeps always the right for human dignity. Someone could be a horrible criminal but she or he remains a human being, and a human being is fragile; so she or he always needs someone else to protect this fragility.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2008

    Great book

    This was one of the best books I've ever read. So easy to read but it holds this sense of complexity. Would recommend this to anyone who just needs a good book to read in a short amount of time. I finished it in about 3 hours. I would love to read more by this author.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2008

    Just plain and simple remarkable writing!

    I read The Reader and was so excited to see another title out by Schlink. I read it in one day, just could not put it down. The stories are real and in some ways very ironic. The stories read like novels in the sense that they have very well developed characters and plot yet it's easy and a real treat to read. Much like the Reader these stories are full of surprises that'll keep you talking about them for months to come. In my opinion Schlink is fast becoming one of the most important writers of the 21st century.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2008

    Not for entertainment

    This is a good read. On one hand you have historical accounts of the holocaust. If you were looking for erotica, you are on the wrong shelf. On the other hand is the parallel message of our daily lives. Empty characters for you to define. And moral dilemmas, again within our daily lives. Well written.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2007

    Great Book

    From the beguining to the end I was engage with the lecture of this book,I was able to feel his strugle, her lonelyness, the whole story is amazing, is been a long time since a book touch my heart like this one did, is definily a most read!!! I must admit that I could'n control my tears at the end, becouse I wanted to keep reading honestly I didn't wanted to end...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2007

    So good!

    This is one of the five best books I've ever read. It was gripping and fascinating. I read it close to ten years ago, but it still stays with me as one of the best.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2006

    A must read!!

    I read this book many years ago, I was still in high school. I would suggest this book to anyone, not only does it bring real life issues to light but also teaches us about unknowns. Anyone who didn't love this book should go back and read it again, and maybe think of reading more enlighting books themselves.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2005

    MY FAVORITE BOOK EVER!

    The Reader is the best book I read so far! I love the descrition of every detail.....described. It was amazing,I couldnt put it down!!!! I recommend this book TO EVERYONE!.....READ IT!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2003

    lacking in depth...

    I find the book lacking in depth. It has got a very flat tone to it and everything is one-dimensional. The 2 main characters were not well-developed at all (and I think in order to do that, the volume of the book will have to be thicker). Did not enjoy it as much as I would like to.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2010

    Quick Read, No Fairy Tale Ending

    I enjoyed the author's style, and especially enjoyed the realistic conclusions- which I find to be often missing in most novels. This novel is definately not a "disney" novel- which I welcomed and enjoyed. The details the author used for descriptions helped me to paint a very clear picture in my head of the places, actions, and people. I also feel like there are political and intellectual messages for the time that may be intersting to discuss in book clubs. It was a very fast read and I would recommend it to mature readers only due to some graphic sexual nature. The Reader was translated into 'layman' terms that made it easy to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2009

    I can't believe this was made into a movie!

    This was a quick read, no substance. I felt like I never got enough information about the woman character & the "secret" was painfully obvious. I don't know why anyone would make this into a movie?!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 3, 2009

    Ok

    I had high expectations of this book since it was an international best seller, whoever was disappointed did not find it as good as expected.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2009

    mundane and depressing

    too much of a drawn out middle and too depresing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    The Reader

    This was possibly the most depressing, awful book I have ever read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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