The book thief

The Book Thief

Hi Friends, I’m currently reading The Reckoning by John Grisham. However, the next book is Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak. So I thought I’d revisit an earlier book by Markus Zusak, The Book Thief.

Since The Book Thief has been made into a movie, I’m sure a lot of people know the story. When my youngest had to read this for school, she watched the movie AFTER reading the book. I watched with her and decided to read the book as well. So many movies don’t do justice to the books. Think Harry Potter series! Again and again, I’ve heard that the movies didn’t explain things well, especially if you have not read the books. Well, muggles, read the books!

Back to The Book Thief

Again, this is another story set in the WWII era and also about saving a Jew, among other things. I guess I’m partial to that setting and that type of story line. (See posts here & here.) Death, being the narrator, tells the story of Liesel Meminger. Upon discovering the power of words, she began to save books from the Nazi book burnings and pilfer them from the mayor’s wife’s library. Later, she would use words to record her life.

One thing that leaves a lasting impression for me is again the bravery of normal people during wartime. I confessed that before reading any of these novels, I’d automatically equate German people with Hitler. It’s obviously wrong. And I’ve raised the question, “how could anyone be so stupid to follow Hitler?” many a time whenever the opportunity arises. I don’t think anyone truly knows the answer. Some give the answer, “they didn’t have a choice,” or “they didn’t know what he would do,” or some such. Then, I read these novels and likely more to come that would give me a glimpse into the life at the time in Germany, and elsewhere in the Nazi occupied territories.

I learn that some German people were decent and brave like Hans Hubermann, Liesel’s foster father, who hid the Jew. Of course, there’s also that soldier mentioned in The Ragged Edge of Night who was given an impossible choice of following evil orders or saving his own family. Or, in another one, The Nightingale, a Frenchwoman managed to save scores of Jewish children.

The state of Israel gives non-Jews who saved Jewish lives, or attempted to save Jewish lives, the formal recognition of being Righteous Among the Nations. I’m sure many more courageous souls remain unrecognized in this life, but rewards would be awaiting them in the everlasting life.

Bottom Line

This is not a fast read. You need to take the time to read and savor. I liked it a lot. Highly recommend it.

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