Book Review: The Rights of the Reader by Daniel Pennac

What’s it about?

Humane, humorous and deeply felt, this is a unique book about reading.

The Rights of the Reader, which has sold over a million copies in France, grew from celebrated French writer Daniel Pennac’s experiences of teaching in “challenging” schools. Central to the book is his belief that readers have rights: to read what, how, where and when they want, and – if they choose – the right NOT to read. 







My thoughts

I can’t recall where I saw this book mentioned, it was probably on a Booktube video and I was like, ok that looks interesting, I’m a reader, it should suit me.  I was also drawn to “The Rights”, and in particular, The Right Not To Finish A Book, as this is something I struggle with.  I have this need to finish books and could count on one hand the amount that I have DNFed over the years.

Pennac’s Rights:

“The right not to read.

The right to skip.

The right not to finish the book.

The right to read it again.

The right to read anything.

The right to mistake a book for real life.

The right to read anywhere.

The right to dip in.

The right to read out loud.

The right to be quiet.”

How many do you observe? 😉

The book is a series of short stories, some are just a page long, some a paragraph, about the author’s teaching experiences with his students and their reading…or lack of it.  Maybe it’s because I’m not a teacher that I found these accounts the hardest to engage with.  I got what the author was saying but it had little effect on me.

However, I enjoyed his chapters describing reading to children and then discussing how they go off reading when it becomes uncool, as a parent and an aunt, I have experience of this.  But the book became a lot more engaging for me after chapter 56 when he discusses how we treat our books, the more generic topics, that most readers will have experience of.

I loved the illustrations by Quentin Blake which were a fun touch.  A quirky little book, which will be well suited to teachers and teaching staff or anyone involved with getting kids to read!

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Small print for info
Source: Library
No of pages: 174
Publisher: Walker Books