The Book Thief has been on my to-read list for years now. More precisely ever since I saw the movie in the cinema and never really recovered from it. Considering that most of the time, the books are better than the movie, I just couldn’t wait to read it, but pulled it off because I worried I might get disappointed.
Summary (from Goodreads) : It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
My thoughts :
As I’ve said in my previous post, books and words in general are one of the most important part of my life, so of course I felt even more interested when I saw that this was one of the most important part of the book, especially given that the action takes place during World War II. I loved that the different parts of the book are named after the books Liesel reads throughout them, because it shows their impact on her. Her relation towards words is also a great way to realize how much time has passed in the book, and how much the character has evolved as well. We go from Liesel not being able to read, to her stealing books, to her writing her own book. One of my favorite quotes from the books is from Liesel herself “I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” I also loved the way the author showed the importance of words through Max, who is the Jew in their basement, when he asks Liesel to constantly tell him about the weather. It can seem like nothing to us, but to someone who stays in the basement for as long as him, you understand why this is so important to him, how the words can make it seem almost real to him, as if he could actually picture it.
Another thing I really enjoyed about this book is the fact that the story is told by Death itself. It seems so appropriate, given that it takes place in World War II, and it adds importance to the characters, because we wonder « What is so interesting about them that Death pays this much attention to them? » Of course it also worries you whilst you read the book, having Death so close to them, because you don’t want them to get hurt. But you know some of them will, Death warns you in the first pages.
The only thing I’d have to say about this book is that it took me a while to read this, so if you’re looking for a quick read, maybe this isn’t the right book for you. Then again, maybe it’s just me and you’ll read it in two days. I also think it’s a great way to add realism to the book. As one of my friends and I said not long ago, we know how long the war lasts, but for them, it feels endless. Maybe the author wanted to show us how long the war could feel. If you want to know the main lines, you can still watch the movie, which is a good adaptation in my opinion. I have watched it again yesterday, and it’s crazy to realize how quickly things seem to go in it. But then again, they couldn’t add everything into it, or it would be too long. Better make it all in your own mind.