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April 3, 2009 / merlisser

The Reader

I got a copy of The Reader while I was capital city for a meeting. Of course, I knew the outline of the plot and that Kate Winslet had won a lot of awards for her portrayal of the older woman in this movie.

This is about the fifteen year old boy who developed hepatitis. As he was going home from school, he threw up and an older lady helped clean him up and get him home. Months later when he recovered, he went to her house to thank her for being so kind to him. They have sex. She likes him to read her stories. One day she just ups and leaves. Years later, he discovers that she is on trial for Nazi war crimes.

OH MY.

Apparently, this book is so controversial that it is not on goodreads.

The story is not very graphic and is in hindsight from the young boy when he is an older man. It\’s an easy read and the writing itself is very sparse. This might have to do with the fact that it\’s an English translation of a German story.

The most interesting part of the story to me was the tension between the now grown children and their relationship with the older generation who had been Nazis. Everyone else in the world is able to denigrate them as “bad people” but how do you reconcile that when it’s your Mother or Father, the same person who fed you, clothed you, read bedtime stories to you at night, and played games with you as a kid.

Don’t be fooled. It’s no Lolita.

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