“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 its words and stories so damning and brilliant.” –Death
Here comes a lengthy railway of appreciation for Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, because for the record, I never expected that it will receive the lion’s share of tears exclusively secreted for literature and breathtaking novels.
The Book Thief is a tale about a young, unfortunate German girl named Liesel Meminger, of how she got over the death of her little brother, how she came to love her new family, even with a very sharp and harsh mouth for a foster mother. Her first stolen book is The Grave Digger’s Handbook, she used it as an alphabet to learn how to read with the aid of his accordionist, affectionate foster father. And with that, her life leads on to sporadic book thieving tendencies, playing soccer with the other kids of Himmel Street, and again, stealing apples and potatoes with her cocky and athletic best friend, Rudy.
One of the strong element of this book is its characters. You will never forget each of them, one will motivate you to love reading despite the scarcity of books, another will make a huge decision in exchange of the safety of his family, while one will just constantly prove to everyone that he can do anything just to get that coveted kiss from that lovely girl. Truly, once you finish it, you’ll be enveloped by regret, sorrow and at the same time, you’ll let yourself figure out the silver lining after all that has happened.
I commend Zusak’s tact in using the appropriate words to describe each and every detail of the story, for an instance, the image of Himmel Street will forever be embedded on my subconscious, its inhabitants, the apple trees, the Mayor’s house, its window. All of it will remain vivid whenever I choose to reminisce the events from the book.
I have to admit that I had to rush, actually sprint inside the bathroom when I reached the last two chapters, Death is not cruel, he’s a narrator who has a heart, he made me cry and of course, Liesel. God, oh God.
This is more than just a lovely book and I recommend it to anyone who has an interest in World War II, Germany, reading, writing, and simply, life and its interplay between all kinds of people.
P.S. You will find this inside my ‘emergency backpack’ along with The Time Traveler’s Wife, Looking For Alaska and a bottle of water, them I will bring in the dawn of pre-apocalyptic era in the near future.