I have the feeling there's more than one way of looking at this book. On one hand it can be viewed as a bildungsroman
, it follows Michael Berg since the age of 15 till full maturity. On the other hand, it's the post-war German generation coming to terms with their past, the Nazi crimes and their parents' guilt. Guilt, actually, is a recurring theme in the novel: Hanna is guilty of war crimes, Michael is guilty for betrayal (plus he feels guilty for having loved Hanna and asks himself if that makes him a criminal as well), Michael's father for not being enough of a father.
The question you get stuck with, after reading, is Hanna's question addressed to the judge: "What would you have done?"
The question I am stuck with is: What would have happened if the truth had been told?
On a bohemian level, the novel is about love for books and reading, so that's a plus for bookworms :)