The Reader is the story of Michael Berg, starting when he is 15 years old and following him through different points in his life as he faces the reality of his relationship with a much older woman. He meets Hanna Schmitz one afternoon when he gets sick, and after a battle with hepatitis goes to find her again to thank her for her kindness. The two begin a passionate affair that lasts several months. One day Hanna leaves without any word, and Michael wonders what he did wrong. His relationship with her overshadows his future relationships with women.
A few years later, his relationship with Hanna comes back to haunt him. While in law school, Michael is required to attend a court case for a trial of SS guards. Hanna is among one of the defendants. During the trial Michael is faced with a whirlwind of emotions. Yet Michael still doesn’t get his closure. That doesn’t come until he is an adult and he is attempting to fulfill what were her last wishes.
I fell in love with this story, I couldn’t put the book down when I read it and it has found a place among my favorite books. The struggle of feelings – emotions – that Michael constantly faces throughout his lifetime is so easy to relate to. He built something of an attachment to this woman, and when she leaves, he is faced with a torment he didn’t expect. I love how human and fragile he is, and how much he needs to experience in order to come to terms with his past. Overall, an awesome read.