The Book Thief(2013)
While subjected to the horrors of WWII Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. Under the stairs in her home, a Jewish refuge is being sheltered by her adoptive parents.
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I have absorbed this book slowly, a few pages at a time, putting it down and returning to it when I felt strong enough to read on. I came at it first via the film so the characters faces were clear in my mind. It's a harrowing, beautiful, terrible story. The Book Thief could in many ways be compared to All Quiet on the Western Front taking us into the heart of Germany as war rages around and challenging us to see people like us... People who are not monsters though their actions may appall. Real people who lived and loved and yearned for a future without war, but people living in extra-ordinary times, brainwashed, coerced, forced to act against every normal instinct in order to survive. Everything is turned upside down in such times and places. Acts of love and compassion are punished so what is left? For Rudi and Liesel Thievery becomes a small possible act of rebellion, a way of remaining honest or true to oneself, instinctive, perhaps even an act of sanity in an insane world.
Death is the narrator of the story, a clever device enabling an emotionally impartial and non-judgemental narration that cuts to the heart.
It is interesting that the narrator prepares the reader for what is to come on several occasions. Yet this preparation in no way diminishes the horror. In some ways it intensifies it... Or focuses the attention... Like preparing to visit the morgue to see a loved one... We need to be prepared to say goodbye properly... To be able to let go... To remember. The dead are honoured by our remembering.
The Book Thief is a very unique story, partly because it is narrated by death and partly because it is such a different plot to anything I have ever read before! The way this book is written is genius and I have to congratulate the author on making this such an interesting read : other reviews say it gets boring but I can assure you, it definitely doesn't.
I must admit it takes a little while to really get into the story and understand the way it's written, but after you get past the prologue, this book really gets going.
WARNING : *Do not read on if you don't want to discover anything about the story*
The story revolves around Liesel (the book thief) and where she lives with her foster parents, Himmel Street, which translates to Heaven Street. However, the funny thing is, it is the complete opposite to that and is considered not a very pleasant place to be.
As the story unravels, the Hubermann family become closer to each other and Liesel forms a special relationship with her father, Hans. When they discover something on their doorstep, they all work together to make sure they are not found out. Because if they were, it ma be fatal... Please read this book!
By Vivie Sleight age 11
Absolutely amazing and breathtakingly different story narrated by 'death' about a small girl who is spared from the concentration camps as her father is a communist / traitor (not sure which) and witnesses the death of her brother. She is fostered by a poorer family and on the first night she will not go to bed and is coaxed into settling down by her foster father who then teaches her to read using a 'grave digging' book that she stole at the funeral of her brother. She ends up making friends with a local boy who becomes her playmate and 'wingman'.The book also features the Nazi book burnings in which she steals another book hence the name the 'book thief' It features moving accounts of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, bombings and an impoverished starving Germany and it is refreshing to see this from a German perspective rather than a British one. An amazing page turner that I cannot do justice to in a few lines!