Customer Reviews for

The Reader

Average Rating 4
( 459 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(168)

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 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 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 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 February 23, 2009

    Do we forgive? Should we forgive?

    I don't read Holocaust novels or see Holocaust movies, but wanted to read this novel written by a German. Cool as to how it handles the Holocaust, it is a remarkable tale, asking how long guilt should last (from our point of view), and how much sympathy one is entitled to expect (from the perpertrator's point of view).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2009

    A surprising twist . . .

    When I chose this book, my choice was based on the movie ads running. While it looked good, I was somewhat suspicious that it was another older woman/ younger man story. While it was, the secret caught me by surprise. The translation was well done and it left as many clues as I could ask for, but I remained surprised in the courtroom when her now adult young lover sat listening to her testimony.<BR/>How much we give up to keep our secrets is where this book left me. In the end, her decision seemed logical as it relates to how she lived her life. The reader was a great book that I had finished in record time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2008

    Very Good

    I really liked the book! But I didn't like how in the beginning, about the relationship with the woman and boy was not explained well. In the end, when he said he was about to cry, I couldn't believe it because I didn't think he was that emotionally attached to her because the beginning I didn't think the relationship was like that. But overall I really liked the book and would recommend it to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2005

    Read between the lines

    I found this book to be boring the first time I read it, only finishing part one. Now I just read the whole things in one day. It's an easy read and very interesting if you read between the lines. Hanna's illiteracy represents her lack of knowledge while being an SS officer. What I didn't like was the narrator going to in depth with stupid things and not enough to areas that were crucial to the plot.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2005

    very interesting

    this book is good until its understood how someone could fall in love in such of a spare the moment type of thing if you like to read love novels you should try this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2004

    Just Give It a Try!

    I think that part of the beauty in the writing of The Reader was in its simplicity. It is bold and streamlined with no frills, as love stories should be. I also noticed that when the protagonist grows up and the affair is behind him, his character seems wiser and comprehensive of his dizzying experience with Hannah. I was very impressed by the plot, the enduring message of forgiveness and its compelling characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2004

    Extremely Moving

    I don't understand how some people could've commented that the characters in this book didn't have enough 'depth'. I truly beg to differ. I thought that it was an extremely moving novel; I didn't agree with a grown woman seducing a teenage boy half her age, however, Hanna Schmitz's character could be deemed neither evil nor innocent, but she still managed to evoke sympathy from me as an audience. The younster Michael, who we as the audience follows into adulthood-his inability to get over this woman and to sustain proper relationships harbors on the harm which Hanna caused when she seduced him when he was a mere child. I guess she had her faults, then, on top of being a Nazi. Anyway, this should be made into a movie, as a matter of fact, while reading this, I felt as if I were watching one of those old Euro flicks that I love so much. This would make a great film adaption; I can just see it on the Sundance Channel. You're either going to love the book or hate it. I thought it was well written and well detailed without being overly so, so I do recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good book with a dark undertone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2003

    Not Quite A Five Star

    The Reader was recommended to me for a cultural class that I'm currently taking. At first I was puzzled as to why I was suggested to read this book. Michael, the main character of the book, is fifteen years old and has a passionate love affair with Hannah, a woman nearly three times his age. While Michael enjoys the love affair, Hannah enjoys Michael's stories. In order for Michael to be satisfied, he must first read books to Hannah, because she is unable to read them herself. Hannah simply disappears, and the next time he sees her is in Germany while studying law. Hannah is on trial for a crime that she didn't quite understand. Her shame of being illiterate is too embarrasing, and Hannah finds it hard to come open with this, because she is so humiliated. We find out how important being literate really is through the trails of Hannah's past. This book is a fairly easy read, but it hold so much important information. Not only are you able to hear the story of Michael, but there is also a lot of history of the Holocaust during the trials. This isn't one of those books that you can't put down, but it is one of those books that is easy to pick up. If you're looking for a book that has love, drama and a historical backgroud of the Holocaust,than this is the book for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2003

    A beautiful book......with something important to say

    I read this book entirely by chance. I love when life throws you something thought provoking and meaningful out of the blue. Yes the book feels unneccessarily sterile but I can't see this book as being otherwise flawed. It gives you the'smaller' picture and juxtaposes Michael and Hannahs personal drama with the social tension, climate and collective emotion of a world where people were being forced to realise the full extent of what had gone before. I will refrain from over analysing this book as a feel it would be an insult to the authors sparse but melodious style which dosn't exist for the sake of being critically acclaimed or whatever. It is a bittersweet book which will make you cry. Tears will do nothing but at least it wont let us forget.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2002

    I Loved This Book!

    I read this while on my senior trip in Mexico. Instead of going out to the club one night, my three girlfriends left me to indulge in this fabulous novel. The characters could have been a little more developed, but it's still one of the best novels I've ever read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2001

    A Name to a Face

    The Reader was a beautiful and extraordinary love affair between two people, even though their age was quite a difference. I loved the romance of Schlink's quiet style. Having heard many horrible stories from that era, it was an interesting look into the lives of this mis-matched couple. I had no preconceptions about this book before reading it, and it was definitely hard to put down. A very compelling look into the lives of these characters which were more a metaphor for the situation at the time than that of a relationship between the two.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2001

    Captivating and wonderfully written

    I chose this book out of the blue. I started to read it at 11:30 pm on evening and had it finished the next day at 4 pm. When I finished it, I had to immediatly call my boyfriend in NYC to discuss it! I loved it and encouraged to go to B & N that night and get it, he did and he loved it too!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2001

    I do recommend

    I enjoyed reading this book. In the beginning, I wasn't sure as to what to expect when Michael, a 15 year old boy starting having a love affair with Hanna, a 36 year old woman. The first part of the book is about their relationship which lasts for over a year. She suddenly disappears, leaving many of Michael's questions unanswered. Part 1 ends and Part 2 begins. Michael is now a 25 year old law student who is assigned to observe a court case with 5 defendants who are former guards at the concentration camp, Auchwitz. Michael recognizes one of the woman to be Hanna, his former lover. She is being accused of a horrible crime and could face a long prison sentence. Hanna has a secret that she refuses to reaveal, even though it could help in the outcome of the trial. She is convicted and sentenced to many years in prison. In part 3, Michael finally decides to make contact with Hanna after many years. Throughout her sentence they stay in touch. Finally, Hanna is going to be released. This book is full of surprises and is one that is hard to put down. I really enjoyed reading the book from Michael's perspective. In the begining of the story, he is a young boy who is naive and vulnerable. As the years pass and the story progresses, he comes into himself and takes charge of his life. He becomes an accomplished lawyer. He never does fuly understand how he feels towards his relationship with Hanna or even the feelings he has for her. Even as an adult, he doesn't know how to react. This book is definitely one to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2000

    Wonderful

    I've read this book 3 times. I thought that Hanna was such a captivating character. I have a personal belief that the novel can not ever completely be enjoyed by people only reading in English, since it was translated from the original German, and that's why the language was at times flat. So, I guess I'll have to go learn German if I want to really be captivated by the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 1999

    Not my usual style, but I liked it.

    The first couple of chapters didn't catch me, but once I met Hanna, I had to keep reading. I realize now that I never truely understood Michael or Hanna until the day after I finished the book. Michael is drawn to and fasciated with Hanna all his life because they are so similar, yet he never acknowledges this to the reader. Both are solitary people living with a secret.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 1999

    The most under-rated book of the year

    The Reader was fascinating, I found it to be a very compelling novel, rich with insight and wisdom, vivid imagery, and stunning human drama. If you read this fine novel you will learn a lot about relationships which are at the mercy of the past.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting angle

    15-year old Michael has a love affair with an older woman, who then disappears leaving him with uneasy feelings of guilt and abandonment. Years later, he discovers that she was a guard at Nazi concentration camps. While he attends her trial, and in the years following, Michael explores what it means to love someone who has done terrible things. For me, this was a new way to view the Holocaust, and so the story was very interesting. However, it’s not the type of book I generally enjoy, so this is the only reason I gave it a lower rating. I think it’s a very well written and thought-provoking book.

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