This book is weird like only a love story concerning a pedophile illiterate Nazi and a 15 year old with Hepatitis can be. It is a super easy fast read – 218 pages and each chapter is about 4-5 pages tops. I have wanted to read this book ever since the movie came out in 2008. Thank you Strand Bookstore for turning this into a reality for me! For the sweet price of $7. I have been waiting for my library’s website to add this, but it never happened. So, here we are.
The movie did not deviate too much from the book, which I respect so much.
If you are interested in the most beautiful love story concerning a man and woman being all in love and one teaching the other how to read, I recommend Stanley & Iris with Jane Fonda and Robert De Niro. Its got everything: a single working mother, young bobby d’s beautiful face, a relationship of two people meeting each other’s needs and flourishing with the belief that if they believe in me, there’s nothing I can’t do! and whatever I guess that is everything.
This is not the inspiring love story where one teaches another how to read cause they just love each other so much. This book is sickly sad. The narrator, Michael Berg, could have had a happy life. There were pieces in the book where women his age showed genuine care and interest in him. He was married for a short while. But his dedication to her, his inability to get unstuck from a place he was when he was 15. It was just heartbreaking. This one person changed the course of his entire life.
This book is infuriating and offensive kind of in the same way Boy in the Striped Pajamas was, but not nearly to that degree of insanely implausible. The naive and confused Hanna on trial, not fully understanding what she did wrong by letting hundreds of Jews burn alive. What? I should not have volunteered to join the army? It was just hard to feel the sympathy and pity that Michael felt for her as he is watching her try to defend herself and failing at it.
This book addresses a theme I find fascinating. The generation after WWII in Germany and how they coped and struggled to understand what their parents had been part of.
“We condemned our parents to shame, even if the only charge we could bring was that after 1945 they had tolerated the perpetrators in their midst”
The narrator’s philosophical debates are meant to feel deep and soul-searching but its more like a projectile vomit of rhetorical questions.
Speaking of unpleasant. I ate this while working late. I thought, what is bizarre here at 7/11. Besides the Dorito-crusted mozzarella stick-triangle thing. And everything. It kind of tastes like some goofy version of a BBQ chip. I brought it to my office buddies and their response was, per usual, “but why, Jill?” . DON’T ASK WHY, ASK WHY NOT, is what I always say. Especially when it comes to bizarre chip flavors. I would love to try out one of those pickle-flavored guys.
And so, while my fabulous big sister does Pilates or whatever the fancy are doing on the UWS, I sit here reading my illiterate Nazi love stories and eating meat-flavored snack foods.
It’s how I roll.