I don't know what it is exactly that I expected from this book, but let's just say that it was something.. well.. more than this. Though I have no special reason for it, I always dislike reading about World War II. I guess it's my living in Holland and it all being a bit too close for comfort. I know my grandma remembered those times, but though she told me a lot of stories, she never mentioned anything about this period in her life.
This book is not set during WWII, but it is definitely a huge part of the novel. Hanna is on trial in the aftermath of it and the whole of Germany is dealing with their country's dark past. It's all rather depressing.
The affair going on between 15-year-old Michael and the much older Hanna was not as tastfully done as I would have thought somehow (though I know it's ironic that I thought it would be tastful, seeing as weirdness surrounds the age-gap) and I did not connect with either of them. I did however cheer for Hanna when she noticed Michael skipped school to be with her and told him not to come if he skipped again.
Neither of the characters is very engaging and during the trial I was just baffled at the lengts Hanna went through to protect a secret. I mean, it's just crazy! I'd rather know a little shame than rot away in prison for the rest of my days. I can imagine trials dealing with WWII crimes going the way this one did. Everybody wants to lay the blame on someone else. And there has to be someone who is punished for something a lot of people were guilty of. This is probably not just something of the past.
I did think it was sweet that Michael continued his reading to Hanna, their relationship is so complicated. And weird. And I thought it was sad that their being together influenced Michael so much throughout his life, imagine what it would have been like had he never met her that one day.
Anyway, though this book was interesting, I did not feel invested and it somehow was less than I expected. I hope the movie will be better for me.
My rating: 2,5 stars