Book review: The Book Thief

I finished this book at 3 AM, with tears streaming down my face.

When I first picked The Book Thief, I had a mixed feeling about it. It could be good or absolutely terrible, according to Goodreads reviews. I picked it up anyways since I had had it on my to-read list for so long.

Before I start the review, I need to tell you one thing: this book changed a part of me.
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.
I spent a good deal of time looking for nazism-based fiction to get a lighter view of those barbaric days and ended up finding a lot of books. The Book Thief was included in that list. I didn't read the rest, but I am glad I did read this one.

It's one of the most beautifully-written books I have ever come across. Heartbreaking, sad, and most importantly, optimistic. It's about a girl Liesel who loses her family, one by one, as a side effect of the war. Father, taken away. Mother, forced to leave. Brother, dead by the cold. She found her escape in the books, in the love of her foster parents, and in the chaotic shenanigans of her street called Himmel Street.
This book is narrated by death. What a shock, I know. We all seem to despise death. But in the book, it sounded a lot like a weary teenager who didn't want to get the work done but had to. I was laughing out loud at some points and tearing my heart out for the other parts. It went on a balance.

Nazism is something I have a lot to say about, but end up saying nothing. What's gone is gone. Some damages are inevitable. But to refrain from them in the upcoming future and slit the chances of anything like that ever coming up, is the main thing. I don't want to imagine days like that for anyone, ever again.
You see, the thing about one man show is, there isn't adequate justice for everyone. Nazi-Germany suffered this and ended up the way it did. A lot of people died. a lot of people regretted living, and a handful of people stopped living.
The Book Thief stole a lot of things. Apples, potatoes, and of course, books. But in the most innocent ways. I couldn't bring myself to call her a thief. Even though in the terms of civil society, it was thievery after all.

The characters in this book have a lot to offer: friendship, kindness, some German curse words, and unrolled cigarettes. I haven't felt a connection this strong to the random characters of any book before. 

There's one thing I am positive about. After finishing this post, I am going to write and write a lot. I am going to write about the things that don't matter. Or the things that are of extreme importance. I am going to keep writing as much as I can. It seems like the importance of words has somehow found their way back in my life through this book. I don't want to lose them again.

If I say this is one of those life-changing books that will make you want to deliberately step out of your comfort zone and fix your life, you can trust me.

“She tore a page from the book and ripped it in half.
Then a chapter.
Soon, there was nothing but scraps of words littered between her legs and all around her. The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn't be any of this. Without words, the F├╝hrer was nothing. There would be no limping prisoners, no need for consolation or wordly tricks to make us feel better.
What good were the words?
She said it audibly now, to the orange-lit room. "What good are the words?”

"She gave her a reason to write her own words, to see that words had also brought her to life.
"Don't punish yourself," she heard her say again, but there would be punishment and pain, and there would be happiness, too. That was writing.”

“I guess humans like to watch a little destruction. Sand castles, houses of cards, that's where they begin. Their great skill is their capacity to escalate.”

“Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out, like the rain”

“A small fact:
You are going to die....does this worry you?”


Have you read The Book Thief? What's your most recent read?
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