This is the sort of book I don’t usually read. You know the ones, from the “sad story” section of the bookshop. The misery-books as I call them. But a few years ago I’d heard of Melvin Burgess as an author to look out for. I’ve read his Lady : My life as a Bitch and to be honest I wasn’t all that impressed, but I’ll always give an author a second go. So I tried this one.
In the 1980’s Nick Dane is growing up as an average, if bright kid. He comes from a single parent family, and his mother has a secret. She never got off the drugs, not completely. And in the course of having a “taste” she accidentally overdoses and Nick is left all alone in the world. Soon he finds himself carted off to a “home” for boys, and soon learns that the violence and random beatings are not the worse this place has to offer.
In 1984 in East Germany the secret police, or Stasi were everywhere, watching everything. This film details the activities of one officer, Wiesler, as he monitored a popular playwright. Wiesler doesn’t believe that Dreyman could possibly be as pro the party as he makes out. Too arrogant. So he suggests keeping him under surveillance, just in case. His superior officer doesn’t agree, at first, but then Minister Bruno Hempf mentions that perhaps he isn’t such a fan, and that perhaps Dreyman isn’t a favourite. It turns out that Hempf is more than interested in Dreyman’s girlfriend, the actress Christa-Maria Sieland, and so would like nothing better than to remove his rival by having him arrested and taken away.