Sunday, May 17, 2009

People of the Book

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, is the book about a book. In more ways than one it is a book about the people of the book, the Jewish people, and the people of the book, the people whose lives have been touched by the Sarajevo Haggadah, specifically, the characters in her book. She does an great job of describing the people who have had a hand in the safe keeping of, and the destruction of the book, at the same time. Each of them have had a very different role in the book and connecting the stories, was magic. I was grateful to see the book written by people who have a hand in Jewish culture, and that the main character shared the same Hebrew name as I. I also enjoyed reading about the process used to restore the books. It shows how much research the author put into the book. I could follow the process from Hanna, the main character to each vignette of the book. I was impressed by the vivid descriptions, that led me to imagine living in these various roles, in the books history. The book even does a good job of explaining any words that are used that are out of the normal reader, not the unintelligent readers, will have previously encountered in their regular reading, which makes me as the normal reader feel that the story is fantastically easy to follow. A Jewish reader may feel as though they have the upper hand over another reader initially when they pick up the book, but Ms. Brooks does a fantastic job of making the book not about being Jewish, or being repressed, but about the history of a BOOK, a thing of learning of intelligence and history, and a thing that in the end has touched the souls of all whom have laid hands on it, and have used it over the years. That makes it a book to read and enjoy the experience.

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