Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Book Thief

The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak

This book is amazing! Those words seem so inadequete to describe how I feel. It reached in and grabbed my heart and didn't let go the entire time. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it drew me into a different side of a much told story. It was a side I hadn't experienced and I loved it.
I took this book everywhere with me, just in case I might have a spare moment to read. 
At first I thought I was drawn to the story because, like the character, I had difficulty learning to read properly. And now I'm a huge book lover. But I don't think that was the reason. The author has the unique ability to draw someone in and before they realize what has happened they are hooked.
The story begins with the narrator telling the reader how he knows the main character. I don't recall him mentioning his name, but I'll tell you. His name is death. And he tells about the first time he met Liesel when she was just a little girl. Death comes to claim the souls of the people as they die and that is where he meets her for the first time. It's also when she steals her first book.
The time is set at the beginning of Hitler and takes you to the end of the war and through the journey of Liesel, the book thief. 
This book isn't just about a war or books. It's about the complexity of humanity. 
We can be so evil and so cruel. But we can also be so warm and beautiful.
I think the words of Death at end sum up so much -
I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn't already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and it's words and stories so damning and brilliant.
None of those things, however, came out of my mouth.
All I was able to do was turn to Liesel Meminger and tell her the only truth I truly know. I said it to the book thief and I say it now to you.

I am haunted by humans.

I don't typically like war books and I hate to cry. But this was both for me and I loved it. So please don't let those things stop you from reading this book. You won't be sorry.

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