After Portnoy’s Complaint, I returned to my “To Be Read Bookshelf” and picked out The Reader. Oh how fun, more tales of a boy and his infatuations. However, though this statutory rape (isn’t that what it’s called when a person has sex with another below the age of consent?) features throughout I get and appreciate that that is not the point of this novel.
I actually enjoyed the read I guess because I lived in Germany as a child in the 1980s and even though concentration camps and other signs of The Holocaust were all around it wasn’t something that was spoken of. Anything I learnt about the Holocaust or the World Wars while I lived in Germany was from foreign media. Therefore I appreciated this novel’s attempt to explore how the generation of Germans post-war dealt with their history and with those before them (their parents, their elders) who were either involved in the atrocities or looked the other way.
I felt the story to be powerful as well because I couldn’t help sympathize with Hannah despite her being a part of the atrocities. This even though I couldn’t swallow the excuse that her illiteracy put her at shame because I think one would have had to have been deaf, blind, cold to not know that the genocide going on was wrong. But maybe this is the power of hindsight.
I haven’t watched the film adaptation of this book though I have meant to in the past. Now after reading the book, I have no desire to watch the film as I prefer my own interpretation . I like Kate Winslet but no, no, no, she is not what I conjured as the image of Hannah, Oscar award or not!