Oh my gosh, I loved this book. I am headed to my book club tonight, so I want to get my feelings down before they're either "tainted" or "colored" by...moreOh my gosh, I loved this book. I am headed to my book club tonight, so I want to get my feelings down before they're either "tainted" or "colored" by what others think or feel about it. (I know, I know: No self-respecting reviewer lets others' opinions determine his/her own. Right.) Still I don't want anyone's negative comments to rain on my parade.(There are always the "haters" in every group. I know, because I have been among them at times). So in anticipation of that: I want it to be known there is nothing, absolutely nothing to hate in this book. It's brilliant. The writing is so fresh (who knew "pimples grew in peer groups" or that "Death" had a soft side and could tell a damn good story?) The characters are so memorable, so real, so alive, that I full envisioned every single one of them. I fell in love with dear Rudy and Liesel and Papa and Max––and most of all, Death. I was sad to see them all go when I turned the last page.
Holocaust stories are not all the same--true some are better than others. This is one of the best. And I don't care how many stories about the Holocaust there have been, will be or are currently being written, (there could be 6 million for all I know), but it would never be enough. Ever. No there could never be enough to replace the 6 million lives lost. I still don't think we humans can learn enough or ever truly know, ever truly understand the horrors caused by the words and ideas of a fellow human being and all those who stood by and watched and let it happen. To those who didn't and to those who came before Mark Zusak--Wiesel and Frank, for starters--I am eternally grateful that word by word, they "stole" back what Hitler took with his words and actions, namely dignity, hope, love, and life. Yes, The Book Thief steals them back one word, one character, one page at time. It's a treasure.
I would recommend this book to EVERYONE--from high school on up. (It's technically a YA novel). I am going to complete my Nazi Germany trifecta (finished Sarah's Key before this) with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson next. (less)
Love Garrison Keillor's perspective on what qualifies as a "good poem"--"these are poems that made people stop chewing their toasted muffins and turn...moreLove Garrison Keillor's perspective on what qualifies as a "good poem"--"these are poems that made people stop chewing their toasted muffins and turn up the radio and listen and later zip into our website and get the dope on the poet." These poems all appeared on NPR's Writer's Almanac--and there wonderful. Some duds, but mostly "good"--i.e.,Thomas Lux's poem, stopped me chewing, too. In fact, many of them did. I'll be pulling out this book every day for moments of good poems and heading to the interet to get some more "dope."
Here's a bit from Thomas Lux's The Swimming Pool
The Swimming Pool
All around the apt. swimming pool the boys stare at the girls and the girls look everywhere but the opposite or down or up. It is as it was a thousand years ago: the fat boy has it hardest, he takes the sneers, prefers the winter so he can wear his heavy pants and sweater. Today, he's here with the others. Better they are cruel to him in his presence than out. Of the five here now (three boys, two girls) one is fat, three cruel, and one, a girl, wavers to the side, all the world tearing at her. As yet she has no breasts (her friend does) and were it not for the forlorn fat boy whom she joins in taunting, she could not bear her terror, which is the terror of being him. Does it make her happy that she has no need, right now, of ingratiation, of acting fool to salve her loneliness? She doesn't seem so happy. She is like the lower middle class, that fatal group handed crumbs so they can drop a few down lower, to the poor, so they won't kill the rich. All around the apt. swimming pool there is what's everywhere: forsakenness and fear, a disdain for those beneath us rather than a rage against the ones above: the exploiters, the oblivious and unabashedly cruel.
Definitely a page turner. Finished it last week--in only a few sittings. It wasn't heavy or over-written. I enjoyed learning about the Depression-era...moreDefinitely a page turner. Finished it last week--in only a few sittings. It wasn't heavy or over-written. I enjoyed learning about the Depression-era circus. The paperback edition had a wonderful Q & A section, which detailed how the author, Sara Gruen, wove historical events with the fictional ones. I thought all of it was fascinating. Some of the motivations of the characters seemed a little fuzzy, if not roughly hewn, but the plot was strong, and characters interesing enough and likeable enough to move me along, even if I wasn't believing it all entirely. (And I must admit: envisioning Jacob as Rob Pattinson helped move the story along too.)
Gruen wove an allegorical tale of the biblical Jacob (the "man of many tents"--who was good with animals) into the story, too--but she wasn't so caught up the connection that she forced the plot to follow that of the biblical Jacob's, so there were still plenty elements of surprise and a wholly satisfactory ending. I liked it enough to move on to Ape House right away. I would give it 3.5 stars if I could.