The Book of Everything
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The Book of Everything

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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  430 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Faith is joy is love is hope in this novel of exquisite power and everyday miracles, reminiscent of Barbara Kingsolver's THE POISONWOOD BIBLE.

Thomas can see things no one else can see. Tropical fish swimming in the canals. The magic of Mrs. Van Amersfoort, the Beethoven-loving witch next door. The fierce beauty of Eliza with her artificial leg. And the Lord Jesus, who tell...more
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published April 1st 2006 by Arthur A. Levine Books (first published 2004)
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Manny
Manny had liked The Book of Everything so much that he decided he would read it in the original. He ordered a copy.

"But you don't know Dutch," said his friend.

"I don't care," said Manny.

"It'll be like when we went to to Ireland," said his friend. "Or when we went to Turkey. You bought an Irish grammar and a Turkish grammar, and after we came home you never looked at them again."

"We'll see what happens this time," said Manny.

The book arrived. Manny opened it and started reading. It was very diffi...more
Manny
"Have you read The Book of Everything?" asked Sarah. "You might like it."

Manny said that he didn't usually read translated books. But he politely opened it and read the first page, and then the second page. Pretty soon he had read a whole lot of pages. He tried to imagine what it sounded like in Dutch, and he could almost hear the words.

"Shouldn't you be working?" asked someone.

"I've almost finished," said Manny without looking up. He wanted to find out if Jesus would stop Thomas's father from h...more
Cheryl Klein
I edited this book, so I'm completely biased here, but it is amazing. The facts are that it is a magic-realist atheistic translated novel set in the Netherlands post-World War II, featuring domestic violence, a protagonist who has visions, the disappearance of God, and Jesus Christ as a minor character (he's judged to be fairly useless). The truth is that it is the story of Thomas Klopper learning to be happy. It is certainly not for everyone, but it is fearless and marvelous, and its happy endi...more
Monica!
Wow. I... I feel like I wasn’t smart enough to fully comprehend this book, which is a little distressing given that it was only about a hundred pages long. And I’m not entirely sure if I enjoyed it, although it’s still getting four solid stars. It was... certainly... a book. That you might like to read.

Um.

I will recommend this for anyone who is hoping for a weirdly heartwarming book about spousal abuse.

Or who is looking for an interesting religious conversation starter a la “Hey, so does it c...more
Nicholas Whyte
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1869271...

It's quite a fascinating package, and very short at only 100 pages; Kuijer gives a very strong sense of a repressed Dutch society of the early 1950s, still coming to terms with the recent war and occupation (Thomas, the central character, is 9 so would have been born in 1942), combined with some startling magical realism as Thomas and the slightly sorcerous neighbour call down the plagues of Egypt on his wife-beating father. The line that sticks with me is...more
Elizabeth Alger
I went out and bought 'The Book of Everything' after reading a review in which it was described as virtually the most perfect little book ever written.

Amazingly, I wasn't disappointed. It is an exquisite little miracle. It might be written for children but I defy any adult not to be moved and uplifted by it. I've read it several times now and have fallen in love each time. It is astonishing that such a slim volume (it probably doesn't take much more than an hour to read) can contain so much - ma...more
Pam Saunders
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Iolande Diamantis
Mar 01, 2014 Iolande Diamantis rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: >8 year olds
Recommended to Iolande by: Melbourne Theatre Company
After seeing the play based on this book, I knew I simply had to read it. Everything about the play was magical. From the acting of young children by adults, to the design to the sound effects everything was simply gorgeous. Little things like an actor playing a very believable dog and cat and getting the audience to all throw green pingpong balls at the stage making frog noises encouraged laughter and enjoyment by adults and children alike.

Similarly, the book created the same magical feel. Whi...more
Thomas Jenkins
This book was a good read. I liked how the author wrote with perspectives of other characters rather than just Thomas, the protagonist. It is written in a way that makes you feel as Thomas does. It was funny, sad, and yet it made you think about people really in that situation. I rated it four stars out of five because of the childish writing in parts of the book. Overall this was a good book and I really think most of you should read it.
Sue Cowing
I have lent or given this book to almost everyone I know who reads. It's the outstanding book I have read since the millenium. Brief but unforgettable for its characters, its humanity, its language. Apparently author Kuijer is very well known and liked in Europe, but this is the only one of his books translated into English.
maddy12100
My Year 12 Drama class performed the theatre adaption of this book and I grew to love the story. So I thought I would read the original. So much is packed into such a small book. I grew attached to characters and came to understand my role in the play much more! Great read.:)
Petr
Fantastická knížka. Kouzelná, působivá, jedinečná.
Clarisa R
Det här är en perfekt bok för boksamtal!
Sarah
I picked up this small novel to read at school today. I love the cover with the little frog. The book was definately not as cute as the frog! [return]Thomas is a small nine-year-old boy who is abused by his father and has to watch his father hit his mother. Thomas deals with this by having VERY interesting conversations with Jesus. You know, about how Jesus was abused by his dad with the whole suffering on the cross thing. [return][return]I love the character of the neighbor Mrs. van Amersfoort....more
Iris
6 out of 5 stars. Yes, it's that good.
[Review originally posted at Iris on Books]

Before I say anything else, can I just mention that this is, easily, among my favourite reads of this year and may very well make it to the favourite books of all time list.

I mention this to prepare you for lots of gushing going on in this post. But, mind you, it is well-earned.

The Book of Everything is the story of a boy called Thomas. Thomas knows what he wants to be when he grows up: he is going to be happy. But...more
Michaela Nardo
The Book of Everything had me questioning what was real and what was magic. The whole time I read I wondered if this was the point, to draw awareness to the fact that in life you can really never be sure what is real and what is magic. This is how Thomas seemed to think, that even the extraordinary was ordinary and that made him a wonderful character to try to read and dissect.

Thomas saw Jesus. He befriended witches. He fell in love and had it work out. At the end of the novel, the love was the...more
Zak Kendall
The book of everything is a wonderful read for children between 12 and 14. It deals with heavy content at come parts that I don't think is suitable for younger children. The book is great for kids dealing with domestic problems and teaching them there are bigger and better things to open their minds to. This is a great quick read!
Anna
Een grappig en humoristisch verteld verhaal; zwaar thema. Er blijft veel tussen de regels verscholen, waardoor de lezer zelf zijn fantasie moet aanspreken en dieper moet nadenken om onderliggende betekenissen en extra verhaalelementen op te diepen. Ik vraag me af of kinderen van nu dit verhaal (speelt zich af in 1951) wel kunnen smaken? Een gezin in de ban van de bijbel en een tirannieke vader, het is voor de meeste jonge lezers een ver-van-hun-bed-verhaal. Toch zit er ook veel herkenbaars in de...more
Jarrah
Literature, I suppose. Thomas can see things other people can't. He sees tropical fish in the freezing canal, he sees thousands of frogs when Mrs. Van Amersfoort from next door sends a plague to punish his father, and when his father hits his mother, he sees the angels weeping.

This is a fantastic little book. So small you could swallow it without noticing, but so lovely. All of the characters are simply but marvellously drawn, so that I think I'll remember them forever: Thomas, who thinks he mig...more
Samantha
Review #12: Adult/YA Crossover: Wow! This was definitely a loaded book that packs a lot of punch in just a short amount of pages. What an interesting and clever author! Although the book dealt with depressing material (abuse, oppression) the narrator and overall voice of the story, Thomas has a refreshingly light attitude/insight to life. Although there were several components of the book that I feel could have been analyzed further---or explained to me!--I truly did enjoy this book. It was defi...more
Poernomo Gunawan
I am trying to be objective here, and I would say it has stirred my soul. It is amusing yet moving; lighthearted yet deep. Despite being a children book, it is also an atheistic book. The book grapples with the struggle of a nine-year-old boy to comprehend the existence of God, love, and happiness in a shadow of an abusive father and yet superficially religious. I can feel the pain of the disappointments that Thomas endured which results in the distorted view of God. Being a christian myself, I...more
Kristýna Obrdlíková
Je to taková těžká kniha, vážné téma a vůbec nic veselého. Ne-obyčejná. Nejsem si jistá publikem. Ale skrývá v sobě spoustu naděje a dobra a nevinnosti.
Denise
Just been reminded that I've read this! What a wonderful story. I can't believe that it was adapted into a play and I DIDN'T SEE IT!!!
Richard
Just didn't work for me. Magic realism is a tightrope and it's not well balanced here
Wendy
Mooi, ontroerend boek ...
LauraW
This is one of those allegorical/metaphorical books that I have a hard time understanding. It is written as a true to life story, but so much of what happens is impossible in real world terms. I have a hard time figuring out what is true. But, if I give up on what is true to life and just pay attention to what feels true, I come closer to understanding it. It is a touching story and cuts right to the core. What do you want to be when you grow up? -- "Happy."
Fan Wang
The story happened on a nine-year-old boy named Thomas in a Dutch family after World War II. However, It is never a harmonious family, as the father always hits their mother, and punishes Thomas by beating him with a wooden spoon. His father is definitely a werid person. Thomas writes down everything in this book on his path of growing up. This book says a lot about negative things but I am glad they didn't change his little wish to be happy when he grows up.
Louise
May 10, 2008 Louise added it
Translated from the Dutch, this tiny gem was sold here as a middle-grade novel. Like the Book Thief, it's bound to please far older readers. The protagonist, Thomas, lives an emotionally torturous life, but his sense of beauty and his talks with a quirky, loving, and very human Jesus keep him hopeful and trusting in post-war Holland. I can't read it (and I've read it several times) without crying happy tears of relief at the joyous finish!
Jon Moon
Although the book was quite fascinating, I found it hard to really grasp the story of this book. It is a very short read, so maybe if I read it again I will be able to understand it better the second time.

The book is about a boy who can see magical things that others can't see and he has regular conversations with jesus. If you have a huge imagination and enjoy books of imaginary things, I recommend this book for you.
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“The angels in heaven covered their eyes with their hands and sobbed loudly, because that is what they always do when a man hits his wife. A profound sadness settled over the earth...God was silent in every language. The angels tried to dry their tears, but their handkerchiefs were so soaked through that is started raining even in the deserts.” 9 likes
“Happy," said Thomas. "When I grow up, I am going to be happy."

Mrs. van Amersfoort was about to pull a book from the shelf, but turned in surprise. She looked at Thomas with a smile and said, "That is a damn good idea. And do you know how happiness begins? It begins with no longer being afraid.”
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