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Book Review: The Dinner

Title: The Dinner

Author: Herman Koch15797938

Two couples meet in a fancy restaurant. Serge, a candidate for a prime minister and his wife Babette, and his younger brother Paul with his wife Claire. However, they didn’t come to chat and enjoy good food. They came to talk about their children – Serge and Babette’s son Rick and Paul and Clair’s son Michel. Both children are 15 years old and committed a crime and their parents are discussing consequences.

As dinner develops from appetizer through the starter, main curse and dessert, it also intensifies the tension of conversation and the tension between their relations.


It took me more time to read this book, as I thought it will. Due to the fact that I heard nothing but good about this book and how intense and dark it is and that it should be a really quick read, I was surprised that it didn’t do such an impression on me.

I liked, how a structure of the dinner somehow makes a structure of a story. It starts with an aperitif where everybody is just chatting about movies and unimportant stuff but through every next course things complicates and tenses. The story focuses not only on a parent’s problem but also involves scenes from a restaurant which is really entertaining.

I didn’t like any of characters in this book. No one – neither both couples nor their sons, not the waiter or the girls working in a restaurant. All the characters are dislikable and I couldn’t identify or connect with them.

The main narrator in the story is Paul, who is the least likable of them all. Right from the start he seemed like an uptight man, full of himself, although he attempts to give a different impression. His contempt of his brother was at first funny but later I was tired of it. Generally, Paul seemed very “self-righteous” and that type of a guy who has everything worked out and thinks that only his principles are correct, all his actions are justified and that no one can judge him because he has everything figured out. It also seemed to me, that he’s jealous of everyone around him (including his wife in some cases) but especially of his brother. Paul doesn’t have anything nice to say about Serge, so during his narration through the story, I received negative opinion about Serge, although, in the end, he turned out to be the most normal of all (don’t be mistaken, he’s not a sympathetic man). They’re both bragging, though each in their own way. Serge, who is successful politician, is using his name for benefits and pretends to be something he’s not in public. Paul is trying to pretend that he doesn’t care for this things and that he’s pitying his brother because of this behavior. However, he does the same, just not so publicly.

Paul and Claire are constantly creating the image of a happy family but after Michel’s crime that image begin to fall into pieces. But still they don’t want to give up and their goal is to save a happy family farce. And this is also a basis of a story – how far will they go to protect this image? How far can parents go to protect their children? What is right and what’s wrong? Are there actions who can be forgiven because they were done by certain people (for example here, when the crime was committed by children)? Through the story, a reader is confronted with moral questions to which he must answer by himself. There are no clear answers because we all have different perspectives on various situations.

Despite the fact, I love books who are examining reader’s conscience, this book left me cold. Maybe because of dislikable characters and the fact I couldn’t identify with their story and I was actually judging them more and more with every page. Maybe this was a reason, why in this case, things seemed really clear to me and all their actions morally contentious. They all shown their hypocrisy, except Serge, who surprised me with his action (don’t worry, I will not spoil anything) but I’m also not sure if his action was made with so good intentions as I think.

And, I’m curious, would I look on a story differently, if I would have my own children?

Rating: 2/5 stars

Did you read The Dinner? I would love to hear your thoughts about this book! Did you liked it or not? Do we share the same opinions or not? If you read it, we can also discuss the moral questions from the book in comments below!

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Book review: The Girl in 6E

Title: The Girl in 6E

Author: A. R. Torre

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Deanna hasn’t left her apartment for three years. That was her decision because she doesn’t trust herself. She has terrible desire to kill and the only way to control herself is being locked and isolated from other people.
Everything she needs, she gets on The Internet. Moreover, she’s working as a cam girl – via online cameras, she offers sexual services to her clients. And she’s successful at what she does. Deanna aka Jessica has different types of customers but each of them is looking for a pleasure and sometimes even for fulfilling their fantasies and fetishes.
But a man can’t be isolated from people forever and at first, Deanna’s peace is disturbed by UPS delivery guy, who regularly carries her packages she orders online. And later she discovers, that one of her customers has strange desires and that his fetish crossed the line and he may actually be a madman who will hurt someone.


I must admit that I was very surprised by the book. I thought it would be just another crime story and I definitely haven’t expected so much sexual content. But to be clear, that doesn’t bother me at all. But maybe some readers could be disturbed by that.

I didn’t know much about cam sex. Ha, I didn’t know anything at all, to be honest. And I loved reading about it! It was really fascinating and while reading I could see that author did a research about the topic and everything was presented and explained well.
The story emerges slowly because, in the first half of the book, a reader gets to know Deanna and her clients. However, it was so interesting to read about all the different characters who are really unique.
First, there is Deana aka Jessica. I can’t even imagine, that somebody has such a desire to kill and he’s aware of it, so he’s willingly isolated from others. I thought that Deanna was an inventive person and in spite of her character, very pleasant girl.

At the same time, I was fascinated by a variety of Deanna’s clients characters. I can easily imagine that cam girls who are offering sexual services online can meet some “strange” clients and this little insight into their lives was fantastic. How many different fetishes I never heard about before! And I liked that through Deanna chatting with clients I was able to get to know her character.

I must admit that I liked the first half of the book more than the second. In the second part, Deanna is trying to discover who could be the secret client and how could she resolve the situation. And if the first half of the book seemed truly credible to me, I was not impressed with the second part. According to Deanna’s complexes and problems, it just seemed unbelievable. And I felt same with learning about Deanna’s past and reasons for hers desire to kill.

I would probably give this book fewer stars if the first part of the book wouldn’t be so enjoyable and I also liked a really unusual idea of a story.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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Book review: The Grownup

Title: The Grownup

Author: Gillian Flynn 26025580

The main character in this book is a canny young woman who’s making a money for living with harmless frauds since she was little. As a little girl, she was begging for money with her mother but now, when she’s independent and living on her own, she’s reading people’s auras. One day a young woman, Susan Burke comes for aura reading. Susan has moved into an old Victorian house with her husband and two sons, but she’s not happy in her new home. Her new house fills her with a sense of fear. She wants help because she thinks that house is dangerous and has a bad influence on her eldest stepson. The heroine (her name is not revealed) doesn’t hesitate and offers her help because she sees a great opportunity to earn a lot of money from unhappy and rich Susan.


This book is actually a short story, which was published as a book. Because I really liked previous Flynn’s books I was really happy that I could read something new from her. Even more so, because I don’t read a lot of short stories and I was wondering if the author has managed to create a tension as in her other books.

I must admit that main character is presented very well. Again (like in previous Flynn’s books) a heroine is a young woman who had problems in childhood and difficult adolescence. This is a regular feature is Flynn’s stories. Nevertheless, I liked her (which I can’t claim for characters in other books), because she’s funny which also reflects in the text.

However, I think that the biggest problem of this story is her length. I believe it would be much better if the author would have a chance to develop her characters and develop ideas. And this would only be possible if the book would be longer.

I really liked the first part of the book, but the second part left me down. Because, suddenly, the reader is faced with a lot of facts that must be quickly adopted. Also, the facts are given out very dull and too detailed (there is not much left for reader’s imagination). This is also a reason, why I was not satisfied with the end. Moreover, there were a way to many twists in the story at the end, which would be totally fine if the story would be longer.

Otherwise, this book is good, solid reading (a really fast read) but I must admit that I expected more from it.

Rating: 3/5

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Review: And the Mountains Echoed

Title: And the Mountains Echoed

Author: Khaled Hosseini

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I wanted to read this book since it came out. But I was never lucky enough to get it in my Library and I was more than happy when I could borrow it. And I hoped that Hosseini won’t let me down.

It’s really hard to write what this story is actually about because there are so many narratives and their stories are creating integrity of one story. Each of those characters is having an important role in this book and all of them are somehow connected. But the main theme is a story of a brother and sister, Abdullah and Pari. They live in a small Afghanistan village, where life is incredibly hard and each day is a struggle for survival. And those hard conditions are also a reason why brother and sister have to separate. In this separation are involved several various people and their stories are creating a bigger story of this book.
Their stories are different because they belong to different social classes. There are narratives who are extremely poor and some who have all the power and wealth. The story also doesn’t take place in the same time period, but skips between different periods varying from 1949 to 2010.


Hosseini knows how to write a beautiful book that will surely break reader’s heart. Language is beautiful and his descriptions of scenes, events, as well as people and their tragic fates, are breathtaking.
The first thing which really attached me in this book was a multitude of different narrators and their stories. Descriptions of a hard life, embedded in a completely different culture and reflections of different individuals. How at times people can be completely devoted to fate and accepting (current) situations. But mainly the tragic separation of Abdullah and Pari. Pari, who was, as a little girl, sold to wealthy family, where she should had better life and conditions to live in. And on the outside she really had everything. At first when she lived in wealth and later when she avoided war when her “mother” took her to Paris. Yet, at the end her life was no better than Abdullah’s, who stayed in Afganistan and later fled from the war. Each of them has had a hard life.
At first, I had some problems with jumping between different time periods and life stories of different narrators but this also makes this book more interesting and genuine. It seemed interesting to me how Afganistan changed through time, from the time when it was on it’s highest point and later when it was destroyed by war. And how people were looking on this when they found themselves under certain conditions. And how did the poor and wealthy people comprehended the time before and after the war.
Certainly, Hosseini is master of relationships between people. I can’t name any other author who would be able to outline relationships within families and between people in this way like Hosseini does. Love, hate, disappointment, hope, all this emotions, and feelings are beautifully poured into a story. And his characters become so alive and real.
Despite everything, I would just add that this is my least favorite Hosseini book so far. I liked The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns more but, of course, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t absolutely loved this one also and I can’t wait for next one to be published.

Rating: 4/5

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Review: Caught

Title: Caught

Author: Harlan Coben

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Dan is a social worker, working with troubled teens. One day he receives a phone call from a teenage girl who needs help. When he arrives into her apartment he doesn’t find her there, but reporter Wendy and her team with cameras, who are filming him for their show where they expose pedophiles. Dan claims he’s innocent, but Wendy gathered so many evidence against him that he has to go to the law court.

Haley is seventeen years old schoolgirl who mysteriously disappeared. Her parents and friends don’t believe she ran away, they think that something terrible happened to her. Just like Wendy, who’s trying to connect Haley’s disappearing with Dan. But meanwhile she discovers something strange – a long time ago when Dan was still a student of Princeton University, he lived there with four roommates. And all of them except one, were ruined in last year by some scandal.

Now, Wendy’s trying to find a truth about how these stories fit together. If they fit of course.


For me, Coben is master of crime. Like I already mentioned his books never let me down. And it was the same with Caught. I have feeling that he truly deepens in his characters and there is never just one story in his book. But at the end all stories are so well connected into reasonable integrity. Just like in this book.

He’s characters are always so real. Their lives genuine and it’s not hard to relate with them or their situations in books.

You make so many calls in life that you don’t want to make – and you want those calls to be easy. You want to put people in neat categories, make them monsters or angels, but it almost never works that way. You work in the gray and frankly that kinda sucks. The extremes are so much easier.

Rare we can fit people into just one of this extreme categories. Each of us has something good and something bad inside. But if we still want to mark somebody with just good or bad result is, what happened in this book.

Dan is accused of pedophilia. He’s defending himself in court. But he can’t defend himself before friends, family, and other people. Because they already found him guilty. This book shows us perfectly how someone’s life can be ruined with too fast conclusions. Dan will never again be able to live a normal life because there will always be some doubt about him. And in time when we all have access to the internet it’s so easy to ruin somebody’s life. It’s not that hard to arrange some information or spread nasty rumors. But we have to ask ourselves how our acts will not only affect some other man’s life, but also our own. Forever.

And Wendy… The main character in this book. A reporter who’s inexorable, probably also because of her profession. And the tragedy in her life which has marked her so badly that she became uncompromising and she sticks with her principles no matter what. But we can see in her case that sometimes is better to listen to your heart.

And actually only Wendy bothered me in this book. She was so strictly about everything. But it was still a wonderful read, really tensed and I loved how everything connected at the end!

Rating: 5/5

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Review: The Bone Season

Title: The Bone Season

Author: Samantha Shannon

First book in The Bone Season Trilogy

The story is set in London, in the year 2059. People are divided into two groups. The first group are Amaurotics who are regular people. In the second group are Clairvoyants who are treated like criminals because of their special gifts. One of them is Paige Mahoney, a 19-year-old girl who is part crime syndicate Seven Seals, lead by Jaxon Hall. She’s a dreamwalker and she uses her gift to breaking into other people’s minds and scouting for pieces of information.
One day her life is threatened and she uses her abilities but accidentally kill a guard with them. She runs away and hide but a group of people find her and kidnap her. They took her to secret city of Oxford, where they put her in some kind of prison for Clairvoyants called Sheol I. Oxford is run by special kind of people called Rephaim. And Paige is assigned to one of them – Warden. Warden becomes her teacher but also her worse enemy. Paige is doing everything to escape from Oxford to her group in London.


In the beginning, this book can be really confusing. There is completely new terminology with a lot of different and unknown words that reader has to memorize. The author is just threading all those words and information and history facts without any backup story. And I got totally lost. But after a while when I figured out all the different terms and what do they mean I started enjoying the book.

I didn’t like Paige. I think she’s too dependent on Jaxon. And their whole relationship is a disaster. I understand that she’s attached to him because he protects her, but she’s overdoing it. I’m actually surprised how did it come to this because Jaxon is the most annoying person is this book. I just don’t understand her because he’s not assuring her any emotional support. She’s just business for him, something that will lead him to his goals. But still everyone is faithfully serving him.

The next thing that surprised me was how long did it took that Paige got close with Warden. I thought from the start that he’s great and wants to help her. He was completely different from other Rephaims and Paige’s blindness really surprised me. She was really nastily to him even when there was no need for that. And besides if she could be nice to Jaxon with acting to her like an idiot, why she can’t be nice to someone who is actually nice to her?!? Pha, woman!
And I would read the sequel just to find out what happened to Warden. He was the only positive figure in this book and because of him I want to know what will happen next.

This book was ok, but I thought that it would draw me in more. Because I remember how hyped this book was. And it’s always like that with hyped books – at the end they let you down. I expected so much more from this book.

Rating: 3/5