Before I get any further let me just stress that I picked this book up a while ago and this is not a case of having a knee-jerk reaction to the film. In fact when I started I was not totally aware the two were related as movies often change their name to have little similarity with the novel they are based on. But this is of course the work that looks like it might get Kate Winslet an Oscar.
The chapters are short and as a result it feels quite clipped as the story unfolds in segments with the 15 year old boy entering into an affair with a 36 year old tram conductor.
So far, around 50 or so pages in, it is difficult to get a feel for the character of the boy, Michael Berg, and the woman. He is of course a young boy who is amazed and head over heels with the sexual relationship with the woman. But as to her why would she get involved with someone like him and why would she maintain the relationship? That is presumably going to be answered but you try as a reader to look for the depth and it is not there in abundance.