by Bernhard Schlink
The synopsis: For 15-year-old Michael Berg, a chance meeting with an older woman leads to far more than he ever imagined. The woman in question is Hanna, and before long they embark on a passionate, clandestine love affair which leaves Michael both euphoric and confused. For Hanna is not all she seems. Years later, as a law student observing a trial in Germany, Michael is shocked to realize that the person in the dock is Hanna. The woman he had loved is a criminal. Much about her behaviour during the trial does not make sense. But then suddenly, and terribly, it does – Hanna is not only obliged to answer for a horrible crime, she is also desperately concealing an even deeper secret.
I read this for a book group and I have to say first off that the fact this book begins with a child being groomed by and adult and they referring to it as an erotic love affair made it incredibly hard for me to read the rest of the book.
He was fifteen she was in her thirties. All obvious and disappointing jokes to one side, if this were a fifteen year old girl and a man in his mid thirties would it be ok?
How about if it were a fourteen year old boy and woman in her early thirties or a thirteen year old boy and woman in her late twenties.
Or a fifteen year old boy and a man in his mid thirties – not so funny or erotic now huh.
I did read the rest of the book as was required and with the exception of the above noted scenes it was a good, though provoking book.
It left a lot of things unanswered and, for me, it had some pretty huge plot holes which I’m told are conveyed better in the film.
I don’t feel as though I can offer any more of a review than that; for me the book was tainted by its opening scenes.