Kids/Teens Book Club discussion

The Book Thief > Whos finished? Final thoughts? (spoilers!)

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message 1: by ★ Jess (new)

★ Jess  | 4295 comments Mod
Who has finished this book already?
Discuss, debate, comment about everything here! If you are yet to finish the book, click away now, since there will be loads of spoilers!

message 2: by ɐzzıɹʞ (new)

ɐzzıɹʞ I've read it before..
I really hate the ending!

message 3: by Kate (new)

Kate | 8205 comments I liked the ending! He couldn't have made it a totally happily ever after one, but he still got some of it in there.

My friend was reading it a few months ago, and she was all upset because she was nearing the end and knew what was coming. I told her there was a slightly happy ending, but she wouldn't believe me.

message 4: by Taylor (new)

Taylor (taylorjaylene) | 4557 comments I was just SO SAD that Rudy died! I cried so much. I had to rewrite the ending of a book for a book report I had to do, and I chose to rewrite the ending of The Book Thief. Just a little.

The book overall was absolutely amazing. It's just a wonderful book.

message 5: by Kate (new)

Kate | 8205 comments I was reeeaaaalllllyyyy sad, but that's part of why I like the ending. It made everyone so upset, and as little as we might like it, a happily ever after ending wouldn't have worked. And I liked the irony of Liesel finally kissing Rudy....after he died.

message 6: by Desiree (new)

Desiree (mangalover) I've read it like two years ago and the ending was SO SADDDDDDDDDDDDD! I didn't liked it cause her best friend died. :((((((((( I was really sad.
The only part that I liked was when she finally kissed Rudy. Sad,him not knowing though.:(

message 7: by Miss Ryoko (last edited Mar 19, 2011 09:22PM) (new)

Miss Ryoko (missryoko) | 349 comments I just finished it this morning and I was totally sobbing!

I really liked the ending. Because, unfortunately, that was the reality of the time. But... I'll get to that in a minute.

*takes a deep breath* Okay, so first and foremost, I liked the book. It was so long! Haha, lately I've been reading a lot of short, to the point books so at times I was like "Is something big going to happen?" I LOVED how the author decided to use Death as the narrator. Of course, the setting was great for me as I'm sure it was for many (a lot of people like reading/learning about World War II and the various things that happened during that time.) The best part for me is being able to finally relate physically to this period of time.

Almost three years ago, I went on a study abroad trip to Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic for a class called World War II & Its Aftermath and the majority of the class was about eastern Europe after the war. However, we visited Dresden while we were there, which was a city that was majorly bombed during World War II. While in Dresden, we visited a museum dedicated to the bombing and got to watch some videos that were taken of the city after it was bombed (which, I'm sure it doesn't need to be said, were devastating to say the least). And even now, in the city, they're still finding basements from houses and buildings from the 1940s that were completely destroyed from the bombing. In fact, here are two pictures I took of the discovered basements:

discovered basement in Dresden

discovered basement in Dresden

So, my real life experience with that made the story very real.

Also, we of course visited Auschwitz when we went to Poland and that is an experience I will never ever forget. It's also really given me quite the beating when it comes to reading about the Holocaust now. I haven't been able to find the appropriate words to describe how I feel when I read or see things associated with this time. It's almost as if something has broken within me and I really just cannot contain the sorrow and pain I feel (whoa, I know I'm sounding dramatic! But for real!).

So, anyway, what I'm getting at is I think those experiences I had on my study abroad trip have really let me fully appreciate the story within these pages. Even though it is a work of fiction, it is still based off actual events. So of course, when it came to the end, I was sobbing like a mad woman. And nearly anytime Max showed up, you can bet I was crying. I especially loved the scene when he showed up in the street, being marched to Dachau. I wanted to squeeze both Max and Liesel.

The ending, of course, was beyond tragic, but unfortunately, for many people in many different countries during that time, that was their reality. Sometimes I feel like the Americans were just bombing everyone to show off. It's a really sad thought but there was so much, in my opinion, useless bombing in Europe and Japan during WWII by the Americans. It actually makes me feel a bit ashamed.

But, Teresa, get back to the book please. Anyway, the writing was spectacular and the story was very original and creative. I think Markus Zusak made a fantastic choice in deciding that WWII was the proper setting for this story. I don't think it would have been nearly as powerful or as good had it not been set during this time period. Though I am still mourning the loss of Papa, Rudy, Mama, and all the others, I am rejoicing in the survival of Max and his reuniting with Liesel. The only thing I wish is that I could have gotten more info on what happened to the both of them after they were reunited. I can only assume they stayed in touch and stayed friends til the end of their days (or at least, I hope that is what happened!)

Wow, okay, now I digress from my dramatic response to this book. Haha! Phew, but seriously, this book evoked a lot of emotions from me and I really, truly loved all the main characters, even crazy Mama. And that, to me, is a sign of truly wonderful writing! When you love characters and things like their deaths affect you as if they were real, that is great writing right there. *nods* Yes indeed.

Okay, I'm done now, for real.

p.s. I've started calling people Saumensch and Saukerl...heh.... My friend who took German in college laughed at me when I referred to an annoying girl as a saumensch. Oh Mama, thanks for rubbing your dirty mouth off on me ;-) haha. Oh dear

message 8: by Maxine (last edited Mar 19, 2011 09:08PM) (new)

Maxine Mathew (maxpam93) Book Thief is one of the best books that i have ever read. I especially loved the fact that the story was narrated by death symbolising his dominant presence during that time. Even though the author does not keep it a mystery from us that almost all the people Liesel cared for dies. Atleast Max was alive, it still hurts worse than we had anticipated. I thought it quite ironical that the basement that was thought insufficient safety from bomb attacks ultimately saves her.Also loved the continuous presence of Liesel's dead brother in her life.

Finished this book on the 31st of December. Left me feeling pretty depressed. Loved Rudy and Max

message 9: by ★ Jess (new)

★ Jess  | 4295 comments Mod
Great post Teresa, and thanks for sharing your pictures.
I loved the ending too, especially the final line: I am haunted by humans.
And I cried plenty of times as well, especially when Max and Liesel were reunited. I cried from sheer happiness.

message 10: by Miss Ryoko (new)

Miss Ryoko (missryoko) | 349 comments Thanks Jessica! :-) Our tour guide said that the discovered basements will be incorporated into the new buildings being built in those lots. I think that's pretty cool (but still super sad their history of why they're there)

message 11: by ★ Jess (new)

★ Jess  | 4295 comments Mod
I dont think they should be incorporated into new buildings. They should be kept on display for everyone as a reminder of the depressing history and as a warning for nothing like that to ever happen again, though thats just my opinion.

message 12: by Miss Ryoko (new)

Miss Ryoko (missryoko) | 349 comments That'd be great! But unfortunately, when you gotta expand, you gotta expand. At least they aren't just taking them down and discarding them without a thought. So at least they're being thoughtful about it

message 13: by ★ Jess (new)

★ Jess  | 4295 comments Mod
Yes, good point :)

message 14: by Kate (new)

Kate | 8205 comments Can you imagine living in a house with one of those basements, though? I don't know about you guys but I'd be creeped out. Have any of you read Sarah's Key? Because that's what it reminds me of.

message 15: by Miss Ryoko (new)

Miss Ryoko (missryoko) | 349 comments I wouldn't!! I love stuff like that! But, I think they're mostly putting up businesses in those spots, not houses.

That's the coolest thing about Europe, in my opinion, is that their towns and cities are so full of history with things like those found basements and their buildings. It's so beautiful. I mean, sure we have old buildings in America, but everything is about being modern in America. When I walk through a town in the US, I don't feel like I could be walking through it in a different time period. Europe, however, is like that. When we went to Dresden, right outside the train station was this really old movie theatre. The building said "Film Theatre" on it. It was so old and run down looking, but super beautiful! I loved it!

But, anyway :-p (can you tell I super love Europe! Haha) if they did build a house incorporating one of those basements and I lived in it, I'd probably sit down there like every day and just be like "Wow.... 60+ years ago, this basement may have saved someone from this city's most tragic event in history" and I'd just be in awe. And then I'd think my house was pretty bad ass. Haha!

Anyways, I'm done gushing about Europe (hopefully) :-p I just LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE Germany (in particular). Everywhere we visited was so amazing (especially Berlin! I want to live there!)

message 16: by Kate (new)

Kate | 8205 comments Go to DC, New Orleans, or parts of Albany or NYC. There's plenty of old-feeling there. Not that I don't think that Europe and their history is awesome. The problem with America isn't that everything has to be modern-Europe has their share of that too-it's that our history is so much shorter. We don't have the same ancient buildings because there was no one to build them.

message 17: by Miss Ryoko (new)

Miss Ryoko (missryoko) | 349 comments I'd have to disagree. While it's true the United States has a shorter historical period, a lot of its history tends to get forgotten and especially edited as time goes on. However, I feel preservation of the old doesn't happen much here. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but in nearly every city we visited while in Europe, we learned about major buildings that were rebuilt after the war because they were destroyed. And they were rebuilt exactly how they originally were. I thought that was pretty cool - and it gives a lot of those buildings a really old feel because they had to use the cheapest material they could during that time for funds. And that material ages and darkens as time goes on and in weather, so the buildings look even older and more full of history! I just don't feel stuff like that happens in the US (at least in my experience of old buildings starting to fall apart, they always get torn down. The small hometown I come from is like that. Every time I go home to visit my mom, a few buildings are missing. I ask her what happened and she says a part of the building was crumbling or whatnot.) Of course, this is only my opinion. My history teacher on the trip argued this very point with me because she said America was full of historical buildings, arguing the house her grandparents lived in was 150 years old (which of course, wasn't the point I was trying to make.)

And of course Europe has modern stuff (though a lot of it is in Western Europe due to the Soviet rule over Eastern Europe after the war and Eastern Europe was kept drab and "old" I guess is the only way I can describe it), but when I was walking through the streets of those European cities, I definitely felt like I could have been in a different time (except for Berlin, which is a "college town" so it's "hip." Haha, but even so, right next to the hotel we stayed at was this old falling apart church that they were repairing. So it was cool to see all this modern architecture and then right there next to it was this old, awesome church).

In fact, you can see it here! I didn't take this picture but came across it once and was like "Hey! I stayed there!" (my hotel is the building in the bottom left corner!)

But, anyway... haha I digress. No one is right or wrong, but I don't feel history in America...however I felt history while in Europe, especially in the older cities we got to visit. Pretty rad!

message 18: by Taylor (new)

Taylor (taylorjaylene) | 4557 comments I'm no world traveller, but I have to agree with Teresa. America is a baby in comparison to other countries. The only time I've ever "felt" history in America was standing on the surrender deck of the USS Missouri in Hawaii.

♫♫☺Allie☺♫♫ (alliwicious) | 1115 comments OMG! I just finished and I cried a lot during the end. It was just so sad. I even got my mom going when she came in the room and saw me crying. I feel sorry for Liesel.

message 20: by Kate (new)

Kate | 8205 comments Taylor wrote: "I'm no world traveller, but I have to agree with Teresa. America is a baby in comparison to other countries. The only time I've ever "felt" history in America was standing on the surrender deck of ..."

That's what I'm saying. Teresa's opinion is that America doesn't care about history; my view is that there is an awful lot less history to care about. When you go to some of the older parts of the country, there's plenty of history. But, in places that have been around since BC, not only are there more older parts, but they are much older and have more history by default.

message 21: by Miss Ryoko (last edited Mar 21, 2011 05:22PM) (new)

Miss Ryoko (missryoko) | 349 comments Despite that fact that America was founded 300 some years ago, A LOT has happened in this country and there is history. I would make the argument it doesn't matter how old a country is that gives it more or less history. If a country is 100, 500, or 5,000 years old, as long as there is a past, there is a history. I could also make the argument that America is much much older because it is. There were people living in this country long before the Europeans... but we won't go there because that could open a whole other can of worms ;-)

The United States could be 10,00 years old and I'd still think that people today are more concerned about the next big and better thing. That's why houses get bought and torn down to have a business built in their place, that's why when new gadgets come out people have to have them, and that's why you have something a few years old it's considered "out of date" (like my Nokia brick phone :-p hey, don't hate on my brick phone ;-) haha). No matter how you feel, that is a truth (and just because this is true doesn't mean America doesn't care about history. I never said those words). And there is nothing wrong with that. It's just something that I enjoyed about Europe that I don't see a lot or get to enjoy in my home country.

message 22: by Kate (new)

Kate | 8205 comments No, you never said America doesn't care about history, but that's what you implied-whether you meant to or not, that's what I felt behind what you are saying. I'm sorry if I gave meaning to your words that wasn't meant to be there.

Yes, there were people living here before, but much of their stuff was made for the purpose of being taken down, some of it still remains, and most of what was destroyed was destroyed long ago, before the culture we know today really came into existence. And there were still people in other places, like Europe, before there were people in America. Not only that, but many cities there have been around since then, while the American civilization started all over.

Despite what you say, it is not a truth. It is a perfectly valid opinion, but I believe it is just that-opinion. As it is my opinion that there is plenty of history to feel here as well. My early memories include taking a mother daughter quilting the house that belonged to Horace Greeley and is known in our town as "the Greeley House" because it is devoted to his memory, and kept to look like it did then, down to the slanted floor. And being concerned about the next new big thing? Europe is OBSESSED with that too. If you want to see the most "advanced" and "modern" buildings, you go to Europe. I don't deny that there is an overwhelming amount of history there, just as I don't deny that much of America is focused on what's big and new, but I believe there is history and modernity in both.

I think we may have differing opinions about what it means to feel history.

message 23: by Miss Ryoko (last edited Mar 22, 2011 06:15PM) (new)

Miss Ryoko (missryoko) | 349 comments Unfortunately, it is not an opinion to say that our country strives for new things... because that isn't an opinion. It is a truth. If that weren't true, new technology and gadgets and research studies and all that wouldn't be coming out and people wouldn't be buying them immediately. Of course other countries do too. I'd be hard pressed to find one single country that doesn't want new technologies and modern equipment and the "next big thing." Once again, there is nothing wrong with any of that. If we don't move forward, we'll get left behind. I just feel like often in the move forward, history gets forgotten or tossed to the side. And this, in itself, is not full opinion. A lot of our history books are edited to leave out actual details of what happened. And you know what, that's fine. If we, as a society, believe that moving forward is more important than looking back, there is nothing wrong with that. I haven't said anything about how horrible this is or that our country sucks because of this. Nor have I said anything about how Europe isn't moving forward. Of course they are. And of course they have some cool modern things (I saw the most awesome building in was an older building but it had a new, modern glass building right on top of it. It looked so cool! And the shopping center I went to in Leipzig...don't even get me started on how awesomely modern that was! :-p) But, despite all that, the fact is the majority of the cities I visited looked and felt very old. The buildings were all old (even if they had new modern things in it, like an H&M store or an electronics store... or, in one case, I kid you not, a restaurant called Roosters - yes, just like Hooters). Most of the streets are cobblestone streets and were small and narrow. The churches were all old. And it was neat!

But its also a truth that our country is one of the richest and most powerful because it DOES strive for things that, at the given time, are modern and new. We didn't get to where we are today because we could take or leave the new things that were coming out.

But, really, all I was simply saying was one of my favorite things about Europe is how old the cities felt and all the history I felt walking through them. And no, I do not get that feeling walking through the streets in the United States. Is that wrong or bad? No, it was just something I really enjoyed about my experience in Europe. Simply that.

But, anyways, back to the book :-p

message 24: by Heather (last edited Mar 22, 2011 07:40PM) (new)

Heather (smashingsaturnine) Ah, Teresa and Yankee Doodle Dandy! Your debate warms the cockles of my heart.

Though - indulge me: I saw that you were arguing that America has history based on the fact that there are 100 year old houses? So, in order to fully and completely debunk the theory that "America has no history because its buildings are young" - am I correct in hearing that your assertion is that the general population has access to 100+ year old houses? I would greatly disagree. Many cities are tearing down old houses to build new houses. It's a fact.

Forgive me - that's not my point.

I would argue that both "Age" and "Time" are things that man created -- they do not occur naturally. It's a difficult concept to wrap your mind around - but bear with me, because that is definitely a long-winded, sociological discussion that is not directly relevant to this point:

That being said - if we create and give the concepts of "time" and "age" - then it would seem that America does not put significance on THAT specifically. The amount of years that have passed are not that relevant, because time passed is not indicative of age.

There are places like that, where people go and feel the awe and presence of history - given historical value, given importance and meaning in our lives, such as Ellis Island, the Alamo or even the White House - these places have this aura of "history" that comes from the significance we personally feel and put on it. Did any of this happen that long ago? No. What about Monticello or the Potomac River? Don't they have that puff of pride, that sense of importance and value -- and don't they feel historically significant?

So we have a few places in America that have the feeling of history, though not that much time has passed. Time is not always in indicator of age, because there are old things that no one cares about -- and there are newer, modern things that we DO care about and give historical value.

The concentration camps in both America and Europe are rife with history, though it has not been a century, even. Many Americans have roots in Europe, which also greatly adds to the feel of age. Heritage, lineage, patriotic pride - all can contribute to this feeling.

As for the American tendency to tear down the old to make way for the new? That's not completely relevant to the heart of the matter, though it definitely speaks volumes about the mindset of Americans. If we have fewer places that "feel historical" - it's simply because we, as a culture, have not given it any significance.

And - forgive an old woman for her indulgences, but:
[As taken from]

[uh-pin-yuhn] Show IPA
1. a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.
2. a personal view, attitude, or appraisal.

3. the formal expression of a professional judgment: to ask for a second Medical opinion.
4. Law . the formal statement by a judge or court of the reasoning and the principles of law used in reaching a decision of a case.
5. a judgment or estimate of a person or thing with respect to character, merit, etc.: to forfeit someone's good opinion.
6. a favorable estimate; esteem: I haven't much of an opinion of him.

Based on overwhelming evidence that Americans DO destroy older things for new development - I'm not sure that it is an opinion as much as it is a fact that Americans, like many other countries, makes way for the new by destroying the old.

message 25: by Miss Ryoko (new)

Miss Ryoko (missryoko) | 349 comments Nicely put! I think you touched on a little bit of what we were both saying :-)

message 26: by Kate (new)

Kate | 8205 comments No, I am not saying we have oh so much history because of one 100 year old house. I'm saying that the town has gone out of their way to preserve the history related to that house.

When I was saying it was newer, I wasn't denying that history can be recent (I actually almost mentioned Ellis Island), I meant that all of US history was recent, while Europe has both. I also wasn't denying that the US strives for what's new-almost every first world country does-I was referring to the fact that it seemed like Teresa was implying that the US did so more than the rest of the world, which I personally do not believe, therefore making both sides opinions.

I realize that what I was trying to say and what I actually was were two very different things, and I'm sorry for starting a semi-argument, as well as for getting completely off-topic.

message 27: by Miss Ryoko (new)

Miss Ryoko (missryoko) | 349 comments Haha no worries Kate! A good debate is never a bad thing! I think both our messages got misconstrued.

So, onto The Book Thief :-p haha

message 28: by Kate (new)

Kate | 8205 comments I agree Teresa.

And yeah, Haley, I was wondering that too.

message 29: by Heather (new)

Heather (smashingsaturnine) No problem. ^^ Just happy to help.

message 30: by ★ Jess (new)

★ Jess  | 4295 comments Mod
Haley wrote: "I wasn't sure where to post this: When are we going to vote for the next book read?"

Hm....Well this conversation was pretty dead until Teresa breathed life back into it (entertaining debate, btw). We'll probably give the group read a break for a month or two. (What do you think Taylor? Ill make a post in the other group, we'll discuss it there.)

So, back onto The Book Thief. Finally. Haha, not quite the discussion I had in mind, though certainly interesting none the less.

I love Piffikus :)
Oh, and the part when Zusak was describing that odl woman (whos name I forget) and there is a line: 'Her breath smelt like Heil Hitler.'
Everybody, I am in the same country as the man who wrote that line. Be very jealous.

message 31: by Miss Ryoko (last edited Mar 24, 2011 07:22PM) (new)

Miss Ryoko (missryoko) | 349 comments Haha!! I do what I can Jessica! ;-)

I know, I totally thought of you when I read the "about the author" thinger on the flap of the book!

One of my favorite lines was when Death said something about forget the scythe, I needed a god damn mop or a broom and a vacation.... or something along those lines...when he was talking about the summer of some year. I was torn about writing it down because really... the quote is incredibly sad for what it stands for but I particularly enjoyed it. Terrible, I know.

And, one last thought: ♥ MAX ♥ haha!

p.s. Bear in mind, The Book Thief is a pretty giant book. Perhaps people are still reading it and have yet to comment? Just a thought. I know I probably would still be reading it but I had to check it out from the library and it had a huge wait list so I couldn't renew it so I had to read it very quickly. But I don't have school and homework to worry about like many of you :-p (hee hee, yes be jealous of THAT! haha!!)

message 32: by Kate (new)

Kate | 8205 comments I know that I personally meant to comment WAY more than I have, but have recently been swamped. March is always a very busy month, and this one is particularly so. I hope to be more active soon.

message 33: by Markie (new)

Markie (sensitivecancer) this book was AMAZING!!!!!! my favorite character was max :) The Word Shaker was zoo amazing! i loved this book

♫♫☺Allie☺♫♫ (alliwicious) | 1115 comments Are we going to do another group read?

message 35: by Rebekah Faith (new)

Rebekah Faith (musicalradiance) | 6788 comments We're taking a break. It'll be back in a little while.

message 36: by Kate (new)

Kate | 8205 comments I was wondering when a little while would be.

message 37: by Miss Ryoko (new)

Miss Ryoko (missryoko) | 349 comments I am also wondering ^_^ I like doing group reads

message 38: by Rebekah Faith (new)

Rebekah Faith (musicalradiance) | 6788 comments Same here. I think maybe June- unless we're only doing a two-week group read. Which could work, but if we are then we should start the book picking process.

message 39: by Ingrid (new)

Ingrid Mmhmmm.
We should pick a book soon. soon. soon.

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