Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Reader--#5 finished

This was another short book that I have finished this year--all 5 books finished have been under 300 pages and only A Paper Life was over 250 pages. I have been slowly reading The Hour I First Believed too which is in the 700s but I am just nearing 200 on it.

Oh well, The Reader is an interesting book in a strange kind of way. A 15 year old boy has a sexual and unusual relationship with a 36 year old lady in Germany about 8-10 years after WWII. She disappears from his life about 9 months or so after it all started. Eventually she is arrested and tried for war crimes since she was a concentration camp guard. She is found guilty and sentenced to life. While her trial is going on the boy is now a student and as part of the law school class he is in, he attends the whole trial but does not communicate with the lady at all.

Well the title of the book refers to the fact the lady cannot read or write so while dating the boy read aloud to her. During the trial it comes out that she would pick a weak child to read to her while at the camp & then at the end of the month that child would be sent off to their death. The lady being illiterate does not come out at the trial, in fact the lady does not want it to come out for some reason, most likely embarrassment. Since it doesn't come out though her defense is weak & the other guards pin the majority of the blame on her.

Well the boy, now a man, starts reading aloud again and then making tapes & sending them to the lady in prison. The lady learns to read & write and even sends notes to the boy. Well, the boy never communicates with her except by sending the tapes. Eventually she gets out on appeal and the week before she is let out, he finally comes & visits. Nothing major was said but neither was comfortable either. He speaks to her the day before she gets out and then the day she was supposed to be free, they find that she hung herself in the cell.

A really kind of strange book. I have problems with the whole 36 year old lady and a 15 year old boy. The book never really says how guilty she is as far as being the guard. The boy's life is screwed up because he compares his wife, who later divorces him and other girlfriends to this first relationship and none can hold up to the pedestal he has put that relationship on. An interesting read and very easy to read but overall I just have a hard time buying into the whole story.

I have already posted it on PBS, there are like 75 copies ahead of it, so it is not going anywhere for a long time. That being said, one of the first books I posted on PBS, The Yellow Sailor has been requested & I will be mailing off early next week. I really hated that book so glad to see it going but also sorry for the person it is being sent to, but different tastes abound so who knows they might like it. By the way I am also reading The Perfect Play and might look at starting a 3rd book as well.

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