This book. Wow. I know I am a little late getting there, as it was published in 2005, but am I ever glad that I had this gem recommended to me!
The Book Thief is a masterpiece of human emotion, told from the perspective of Death and following the life of a young girl named Liesel as she grows up in Nazi Germany during World War II. It is equal parts insightful, heart-breaking, and hopeful, with both a devastatingly sad and a bittersweet happy ending, if one can believe that is possible.
“Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.”
War is ugly. The holocaust was an atrocity that words cannot even begin to summarize, let alone attempt to heal. But this book tells a story of a glimmer of humanity in an indescribably dark time.
“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
The way Markus Zusak, in plain and simple language, hones in so expertly on the universal human truth behind events and actions astounds me. I can only hope and strive to one day attain to that level of writing. His writing grabs the reader, pulls them into the story, and shakes them as if to say: “Don’t you see?”
“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 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.”
At its core, it is a story about the power of words, and it is one that will sit heavy in my heart for a long time to come. What books have you read that stayed with you for a long time after?
“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 rain.”