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Perrin Pring

I'm a sci-fi writer and reader, although, let's be honest - I'll read just about anything that moves me, regardless of the genre.

The People of the Book

People of the Book - Geraldine Brooks

This book came recommend to me by two people, but I'm unlikely to pass on those recommendations. The People of the Book follows the Sarajevo Haggadah (an illustrated Jewish Passover text) through time. The stories vary between the modern time book conservator Hanna Heath's story, as she attempts to unravel the Haggadah's secrets and her own life's mysteries, and the stories of the people who, throughout the ages, had a hand in saving the Haggadah from destruction. 

I think I would have found this book much more interesting had I actually an interest in religion. Brook's story creates a timeline where people of all faiths - Jews, Christians and Muslims - take an active part in preserving/creating the Haggadah, despite the political/religious climates at the time. While human interest stories usually do enthrall me, this one didn't. I found Brook's descriptions of the past to be brutal and un-redeeming (which it could have been) and overall mostly depressing. I realize that yes, the story is one of triumph because the Haggadah survives against all odds, but at what cost? It was pretty much ruining lives from its inception, and I guess I just don't want to spend my free time reading about such dark topics. Rape, murder, genocide - they all happen in this book.

I also found Heath's story to be rather dramatic too. I couldn't imagine living her life, and it was hard to find silver linings. This book took me quite a while to get through, mostly because I just wasn't motivated to pick it up.

Overall, Brook's writing is solid, it was just the topic that I didn't really enjoy. If you don't mind depressing stories, or if you are into religion, you might like this book. If you're looking for an upbeat story to get you through the week, this probably isn't it.