Monday, June 9, 2014

Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes Book Review

look who's back

I had come across this book on Goodreads a view times and was intrigued by it. Not something that I would usually gravitate towards but it sounded interesting and different. So when I saw it on Netgalley I decided to give it a whirl and see what the fuss was about.

The book is set in 2011, when Hitler himself wakes up in Berlin, just lying on the ground, alive and well. He soon establishes what year it is and sets about trying to pick himself up and continue with his work of bettering Germany. He soon gets a role on TV playing a Hitler impersonator. Despite trying to convince people that he IS Hitler, everyone just thinks he’s saying so to stay in role all the time. After a YouTube clip goes viral, Hitler is thrust back into the limelight and sees his popularity soaring again.

First off, I’m going to address some of the controversy around this book. Some people are less than impressed that a book about Hitler could be funny, after all that he has done. I don’t think it’s a big problem, the book is clearly satire and making a statement that while we like to think someone like Hitler will never rise to power again because we all know better, in reality it is really easy to get swept up by someone persuasive. It reminded me of the novel The Wave by Todd Strasser in that sense.

But like I said, this book is satire and a pretty funny one at that. It had me laughing out loud at times, some of the lines are very witty. There was a line on morning people ‘What irritates me most of all about these morning people is their horribly good temper, as if they had been up for three hours and already conquered France’. Ya, I know that feeling, chirpy morning people are the worst! I also really liked this line from a scene at rowdy Oktoberfest ‘People were wailing and shouting for someone called Jude’. Hey Jude is one of my favourite Beatles songs.

Another thing I liked about the book was all the question marks put at the end of Hitler’s secretaries sentences, even though she wasn’t asking questions. I thought it was a great way to portray the up-speak a lot young women do these days. Also, I really like the cover!

There were a few downsides. One was all the names of past Nazi party members that Hitler constantly names throughout the book. A few I recognise no problem, but there are quite a few I don’t, which got annoying at times. Also there are some German pop culture references that went a bit over my head. And while I mostly liked the narrative style throughout the book, sometimes it was a bit too much, too heavy. There was one or two times when I struggled to get through some paragraphs, getting frustrated like some of the characters in the book. But overall it’s not too bad.

I would recommend this book if you like satire and want to read something a bit different. I didn’t find it offensive, I don’t think the author tries to paint a positive picture of Hitler, quite the opposite really. A very clever read.

I got a copy of this from NetGalley to review. Readers who are approved for titles from NetGalley are under no obligation to post reviews. I chose this book to review, wasn’t asked to review. All opinions are my own, I think it’s important to be honest about items you review.


  1. I like the sound of this book! At the end of the day it's just a work of fiction so I don't see why so many people would fuss over it. It wouldn't put me off at all.

    1. Ya, I think it's the fact that it's a taboo issue has people wrapped up in the controversy and forgetting it's fiction!


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