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People of the Book

September 7, 2010

I just finished People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks but I had a hard time getting through it.  I wanted to like it since the synopsis sounded so interesting, but I just couldn’t get into it and, in the end, didn’t enjoy it, even though the premise was promising.

People of the Book focuses on the Sarajevo Haggadah, a historic Jewish book complete with extensively elaborate illustrations.  The novel alternates between the story of how the book came to be created and transported over time and the current restoration of the ancient text.

I think one of the biggest drawbacks of the novel was the main character, Hanna.  I just simply didn’t like her.  I’ve read plenty of books where the main character is an unlikeable person, but I think that Brooks intended that we like Hanna, which was funny to me, because she is such an obnoxious and annoying character.  The way that Brooks describes Hanna and has her interact with others made me so glad that I don’t know Hanna in real life.

Even thought I really didn’t care for Hanna, at least the chapters revolving around her inspection of the Haggadah were pretty interesting.  There’s also a weak storyline about Hanna’s relationship with her mother and some sidenotes about a teacher and friend, but nothing that was super intriguing.  I found the chapters about the history of the book to be way too descriptive and really dragged.

People of the Book had a lot of promise, but between really hating Hanna and not enjoying the detail about the history of the text, I really didn’t enjoy it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 10, 2010 1:10 am

    I’m with you on how Hanna really holds this book back. Not only is she terminally smug, but hers is plotline that’s little more than she goes here, analyzes this, goes there, analyzes that (up until the slapdash drama at the end). Not nearly as fascinating as the Haggadah episodes, in any case.

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