Katie's Reviews > The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
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's review
May 13, 11

it was amazing
bookshelves: books-i-would-cheat-with, own
Read from April 28 to May 13, 2011

I still don't know if I have it in me to write something about this book, but I feel like I have to. What do you say about a book that holds you captive, torments you, while simultaneously embracing your soul because of love? I have always believed, it is not death that humans should fear. It is life that is the real villain. In The Book Thief, Death is a friend, he (is death a he?) cares about humanity. Death does not want to take away the souls of those we love. Death is merely a victim of circumstance, aren't we all?

I almost cried many times today. I found myself fighting off that familiar heat in my face as the tears tried to make their presence known. The tears threatened to pour forth as I finished the final pages of The Book Thief. They did again, while I listened to the story of a 16 year old girl where I work. Why does life wish to be cruel? How do humans manage to witness their world shattering, and still pick themselves up and keep embracing life? This girl inspires me, she told me about the death of her father, her mother's struggle with drugs, her own struggle with drugs, an abusive boyfriend, her dying mother (a result of the drug abuse), and her entrance into "the system." She has been given a glimpse of Hell, yet she is determined. She loves her mother like no teenager I have ever known; she forgives her for all of the bad decisions she has made. She defends her, swears she is a truly good mother. She can't wait until the day she and her siblings get to go back home (where she had to brave a snowy TX winter without electricity), and she has to start working to pay the bills and avoid a familiar fate. Life wants to hold her down, to suffocate her, but she keeps fighting and embracing life for the beauty hidden there.

There is beauty in life, even in all of it's cruelty. There is serenity and peace in words, even in all of their atrocities. Liesel's (that is the main character) story is beautiful and painful. My heart hurt for her, as my heart hurt for the girl who told me her story today. I have gained new perspective. I have learned the power of words. As I read, it wasn't Death who made me cry, and it wasn't the cruelty of humanity. It was the kindness and innocence of children (of humans). I teared up again today at the talent show at my work. I was moved, because these children, fighting to hold onto childhood shared their gifts (their talents) with us. In the same way, I cried when Liesel shared her gift of words in the basement. I can't tell you why that moved me, I still don't know, but it seemed to be a beautiful irony that the very thing that lead to so much destruction also lead to healing and peace. I took so much from this book, to tell you everything would take all night. So, I will leave it at this...

"I am haunted by humans" and I am comforted by words.
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Reading Progress

04/30/2011 "Why do the clothes wear the people?"
40.0% "I don't understand..."
75.0% "It was the reading that made me cry. Of all the things. My eyes filled with tears, not because of all the cruelty and death (the sadness of it all), but because she read. Bombs active in destruction, but words left untouched...if only briefly, deliverers of peace. :/"
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