The Reader

Bernhard Schlink


I almost didn’t finish this book. I stopped reading the first time and put it away. Then on my Book Bingo card, I had the category “book you didn’t finish reading.” It was short, so I figured I could tough it out. Instead I was rapt in this story, which was not what I thought it was. Yes, it was the story of a young boy and an older woman, but it was so much more.

It starts out at the love story between the boy and the woman, who likes him to read to her, but before long it takes an unexpected turn, and then another, and another, until the reader has no idea where it is going until the unexpected ending.

The writing is spare and lean, with not a word wasted. I was right, it is short. At 224 pages, it can be read in a matter of hours, but the moral question at the center of the story will haunt you for days.