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Customer Reviews for

The Reader

Average Rating 4
( 461 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(170)

4 Star

(141)

3 Star

(86)

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 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 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2006

    a very slow book

    It was difficult to get through the book because to me the characters were extremely shallow...i was completley indifferent to them...so it was really hard for me to like this book when i didnt like the characters....very boring!Not to mention predictable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2004

    What was Oprah thinking!

    This book was a HUGE disappointment. I have found most books on Oprah's list to be a safe choice, but she really missed the boat with this one. This book was lacking so much! Like detail and depth. And the ending! Please! I want my money back. You had better believe this one will be in a used bookstore soon.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2004

    Wierd

    I'm not sure what I expected, but at any rate I was disappointed. The characters seemed undeveloped and even the supposed romantic scenes were lacking description. I very rarely am disappointed in a book, and I have to say I was this time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2001

    Do You Like Searching?

    If you like looking for things then maybe this book is for you. By the end I found myself looking for the half of the book that I missed. Although the idea for the story is appealing the ideas are jaggedly put together and the author is not able to pull it off. The characters had little depth and that is most likely the reason I could not remember their names. Frankly, I am dissappointed with Oprah for reccommending this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2001

    DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME!

    I regret that I even have to give this book 1 star, it does not even deserve that high of a rating. With a lack of character development The Reader leaves the audience searching for more depth, emotion and a better sense of connection with the characters. The idea for this story is intereseting and worthwhile, however, the author fails to provide substance to pull the reader into the story. This book leaves the reader confused and at the end I was still searching to find the answers to numerous questions I had. Schlink begins his readers on an emotional journey, however, he fails to bring closure to the story. He develops a web of emotions but they turn out to be just a random sampling of events from the era of WWII and Nazi Germany. I found myself wondering if that was it? Where was the connection in this story? Please, take my advice, do not read this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2000

    Waste of My Time

    Because it was recommended by Oprah,I thought I would give it a chance. Ick. I would have put it down by the 5th page, but I had nothing else to read and was trapped at a slow day at work. I forced my way through it and it never got any better. Not only did I find the story slow, and morbid, but I never made the connection with the characters. I didn't care what they did or what happened to them. I kept waiting for this big secret, and when it came, I realized I KNEW the secret at the beginning of the book. Ick again. Oprah let me down this time, but I'll keep trying.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2000

    you've got to be kidding me!

    i can't believe this book got as many good reviews as it did. i'm not gonna give anything away, but 'the secret' is one of the biggest literary let-downs i have ever had (and i've had a few let-downs). save yourself the 7 bucks and get something else, don't do it to yourself, you deserve better.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2000

    not very good

    I found this book not to be too interesting and didn't keep my attention.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 1999

    Extremely disappointing - morally corrupt

    I did not care for this book at all. The entire first 1/3 of the book made me feel like I was reading pornography, at least from a Christian point of view. With that overpowering distaste for the book up to that point, I couldn't even begin to appreciate what may have been a decent ending.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Predictable

    When I figured out where this was going (very early on), I thought that the idea was so stupid that I had to be wrong...so I kept reading. I wish I would have put it down and left it.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Zero stars is a more accurate rating

    The Reader opens with an intense relationship, but these signs of a beginning plotline quickly devolve with the never-ending summaries that begin at Part 2. Yes, Schlink brings up controversial topics: the norms of relationships, intimacy, the Holocaust and the attempts at post-camp justice, self preservation, etc. The idea of a woman being wrongly accused for a crime because she's illiterate and fighting to preserve her self dignity is interesting, but how does Michael reach this conclusion? Not through an active plot, but through a sudden "oh, hey, maybe she can't read" paragraph that suddenly turns into fact without any other contemplation.

    Considering Schlink's writing style, I cannot fathom how this book has received such praise. After Michael and Hanna part, the remainder of the story is merely Michael summarizing what goes on and offering pages worth of introspective, "should I? should I not? Am I bad man? What more can I say to validate myself?" The reader goes nowhere and is left with a superficial, detached view of the story until the final pages. But then to wrap things up as if Michael is a writer, to give the reader a "what you've read is my redemptive retelling of our tragic tale" twist? This is not a mark of creativity, Schlink; this is the cheap device that an amateur writer dives for when he's left with nothing better to say and jumble of words to conclude. Though after almost an entire book driven by a character saying, "yesterday this happened, and today, this is going on" instead of actually living in the text, I do not know why I expected any improvement.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2010

    The worst

    I hated this book. It was boring and very uninteresting. I like or love about 98% of what I choose and I really chose wrong this day.

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  • Posted July 28, 2009

    Boring Book ... Kept Waiting for MORE

    I didn't see the movie so I brought no preconceived ideas to this book. I had a friend who's bookclub read it based on Oprah's review. So, I thought I should give it a try. What a HUGE disappointment! The beginning was okay, but what a drag it was after the first section. I did not feel empathy for the main characters. I didn't like Hannah at all in this book. As a young woman she was a pedophile and as an adult she was a waste. I thought the author was ridiculous to "pine away" for such a unlikable character as Hannah. I was hoping for a great ending and instead got more of the same ... boring. No surprise ending, no unexpected twist to make me feel any compassion for the characters. Sorry but I give this TWO THUMBS DOWN.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2009

    Why is this a classic?

    This book had no point and was very depressing! It is also pointless and lacks meaning.

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  • Posted April 5, 2009

    Disturbing Questions

    Our culture seems to have descended to new depths. It apparently sees rape now as a romantic act. It evidently thinks that after four years in prison, it's fine to free those responsible for the deaths of hundreds. It even encourages sympathy for those who commit such crimes.
    These are some of the messages one gets from "The Reader," and they raise disturbing questions about why the novel has been so popular.
    The novel's main character is Hannah Schmitz, a single woman of 36, without family or friends, who was a guard at Auschwitz and who, in mid-1958, has sex regularly with a 15-year-old boy. The book treats this romantically, but it is out-and-out rape, as surely as teachers Mary Kay Letourneau and Debra Lafavre raped 12-year-old and 14-year-old boys (as with underage girls, whether boys are eager victims or not is irrelevant).
    As Emory Law School Prof. Kay L. Levine has noted, researchers "have found a surprisingly high percentage of female sex abusers in the population and have documented an extensive array of child sexual abuse committed by women against boys." She adds that it's a mistake to"pretend that women are not capable of seducing or manipulating boys to have sex . . ."
    It's also a mistake to attribute much to the fact that Hannah is illiterate. This neither explains nor excuses her behavior in bed with the boy she calls just "kid," and it surely has nothing to do with her acts at Auschwitz.
    It may be that I harbor a special fury about those acts because I was born in the Cracow ghetto and was smuggled out as a baby before my parents were shipped to the camps, or because my mother was at Auschwitz (as well as Bergen-Belsen) before she was liberated and found me again after the war. But consider Hannah's testimony when she is tried along with five other Nazi guards.
    She is asked why, at the satellite camp near Cracow where they worked, she and the others each selected 10 sick women each a month to return to Auschwitz and certain death. She replies that "the old ones had to make room for the new ones."
    She is asked why she and the others let 300 screaming prisoners burn to death in a bombed church during a death-march evacuation of the camp near the war's end, why they hadn't unlocked the doors. She replies, "We couldn't just let them escape!"
    Granted, her secret illiteracy helps explain why she became an SS guard: She had refused a factory promotion for fear of exposing her secret and then heard of the Nazi job. Similarly, when asked for a handwriting sample at the trial after other guards accuse Hannah of having been in charge of them and authoring a key SS report, she pretends that she wrote it. That's why she is sentenced to life in prison.
    But the unasked - and larger - question is not why Hannah receives life in prison but why the other guards get just 4 ¼ years each. That is not exactly what justice would demand.
    Hannah's illiteracy is, of course, also central to her sexual exploitation (she requires the young boy to read aloud to her before sex, providing the title for the novel). When Hannah is in prison, moreover, the boy-as-adult also records books and sends her the tapes. She uses the recordings, together with works from the prison library, to teach herself at last to read and write.
    You'll forgive me, though, if I'm not moved by Hannah's transformation from an illiterate mass murderer to a literate one.

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  • Posted March 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I can sum this book up in 1 word...

    TERRIBLE. This book is awful. It is so boring. I was excited to read it before actually seeing the movie... Now I dread the thought of even seeing the movie. The only decent part is the very first pages where she has the fling with the boy, kinda exciting... Then it just was sooo bad. I would not have finished it, but I borrowed it from someone and I didn't want to have to tell them how bad it was, becauase they like it.... And the translation annoyed me... I had to read it slowly becauase some of it didn't make much sense.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    boring

    for a story of its kind i found it lacking in all aspects

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2009

    Not My Cup of Tea

    I brought ¿The Reader¿ because of the cover: I am a huge Kate Winslet fan. I¿d also planned to see the movie adaptation upon finishing the book. The book took me well over a month to finish thus it was a tough read for me¿did not hold my interest long. <BR/><BR/>The book had an interesting premise, but I found the story disappointedly slow, scant of scene detail, boring most of the time, and it read more like nonfiction than a novel. Many of the scenes simply did not make sense¿leaving the book disjointed at points. I am shocked that this story is a #1 National Best Seller! <BR/><BR/>For the most part, I felt as if the story was a wasted read as it relates to entertainment. The writer¿s constant rhetorical questions were an intrusion, which made me lose focus on the story itself. The luke-warm sex scenes never heated up as one review hinted at. If you are interested in the Jewish Holocaust, this may be a good read because it read likes a case study! Otherwise, it was not entertaining in my opinion. I will only keep it in my library because Kate is on the cover. I probably will not see the movie. But I hope Kate Winslet does win that elusive Oscar for the movie version!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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