"When she came to write her story, she would wonder exactly when the books and the words started to mean not just something but everything."
"What great malice there could be in allowing something to live."
"I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right."
Book: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Published: Alfred A. Knopf (2006)
My Review: I don’t often read book reviews before I read the text itself. I find it often prompts judgement before judgement is due. Forget the cover— never judge a book by its reviews! Or its movie.
Anyhow, for some reason I read the reviews for this book before cracking the cover and realized that it’s one of those “love it or hate it” kind of books. The lovers were typical; shining, spotless commentary. The haters, though, were surprisingly ruthless. I believe I read, for the first time in my life, “piece of dog shit” in one particularly harsh review. Classy and constructive criticism at its finest, my friends.
I’ve never been much of a hater, myself. I tend to enjoy most books; if not the content, then at least the author’s intent and cathartic process. Needless to say, I’m a lover once again.
This book is haunting and mesmerizing and real. Of course, if you’re looking for a happy ending, you won’t find it narrated by Death. (I’m a little bit surprised, actually, at the categorization of this book. “Young adult” seems a tender time to be reading a book written by Grim Reaper himself.)
But what you will find in The Book Thief is truth and a strange sort of honest, naked beauty. And, to top it all off, you’ll gain a new perspective on an era of such profound devastation and destruction that it will forever plague our collective human mind.
All in all though, I adored this book. Partly, I think, because my inner-bookworm (who am I kidding? my outer-and-totally-obvious-bookworm) found a kindred soul in our lovely protagonist. “Words are heavy,” Liesel reminds us. And, like Liesel, books and their heavy words are the key to my everything.