#243 The Reader

I was going to include a warning with this post not to read any further if you hadn’t read the Reader by Bernhard Schlink – or seen the film with Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes – because this was a very enjoyable read which, sadly, for me was spoiled by my having seen the film (which is very faithful to it). Such was the extent of it having been spoiled I didn’t think I’d be able to talk about it without giving away more spoilers but happily that’s not been the case.
Usually I wouldn’t watch a film if I knew it was based on a book from the list (if the book’s not on the list chances are I won’t be reading it for another 30 years so it’s fine), but I first watched the Reader a few years ago on telly, and have seen it a couple more times since. When I realised it was on the list I was mildly annoyed – like Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – another one I’ve accidentally watched – at still having to read it, because I’d always rather read the book first (since it’s the original) and sometimes it’s difficult to picture the characters as anything other than the actors who play them. And, of course, in some cases like (in my opinion) the Harry Potter films, the film omits so much that’s excellent about the book that it’s almost un enjoyable to watch – because at the back of my mind all I can think is how much better the book is.
Anyway so I was in a bit of a rush on my last visit to the library and eager to get as many books as possible to try and quench my post exam thirst for reading and spotted The Reader and thought now would be as good of a time as any and I may as well read it (somewhat begrudgingly) even though I knew what it was about. As I mentioned, the film is incredibly faithful to the book – and it’s both a really good film and a really good book, and a very quick read. In fact the film is so faithful to it I was almost disappointed that the book didn’t really reveal any extra major story lines or plot twists that the film wasn’t able to fit in, but nonetheless it was very good. But try and read the book first (of course, some people prefer to see films first…)

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