Thursday, October 3, 2013

3: Before-it-hits-the-theater-Thursday - The Book Thief

I can't possibly talk about Y.A. novels and not mention The Book Thief .

It's been almost two years since I closed the cover and I still can't stop thinking about it.  Now that it's coming to film in November, I'm sure a new batch of people will read it.  And I really hope they do.  Especially before the movie.   I'm convinced that every book is better than the movie, but this one especially.  Trust me on this.  Especially this one.

I am not a person who quotes movie lines or remembers plot details.  Instead I remember books in vague generalities -- feelings, snapshots, and little personal epiphanies.  When I hear the words The Book Thief , my mind explodes with images, convictions, and moments of pure beauty.  Moments of utter ruin.

I think redemption.

I think of a fuzzy yellow-haired boy who finally got his kiss.
Of a foul-mouthed, red-faced woman who surprised me.

I think of a young girl clinging to a man's ankles because of love and words and rightness.
Raising her voice against injustice.
I picture the surrounding crowd who no longer saw humans as they really are.  Human.

I think of healing.
Of the little triumphs that can bloom in the most bleak circumstances of world history.

I ponder that sometimes we are not who we think we are.
And others are not who we judge them to be.

Sometimes they are more.
Sometimes we are less.
We are not what we look like.
We are not what we say we believe -- we are who we are in that moment that it matters.

Finally, I think that death is a brilliant narrator.

The glossy trailers of this film make me sad.  I didn't want shiny, silky curls  and gorgeous eyes.  I wanted dirty faces, fuzzy scalps and red, splotchy skin and big noses.  I wanted flawed, average, desperate people who lived beautiful, brave lives in an ugly world.  That is who I met in the pages of Markus Zusak's novel.  Leisel Meminger, Rudy Steiner, Max Vandenburg, Hans and Rosa Huberman, and llsa Hermann.

I hope that before you meet the big-screen versions, you first fall in love with the blotchy, messy, imperfect people.  I hope they sear themselves so deeply into your heart that not even a film-ified rendition of them can erase their true beauty.

Markus Zusak, from I Am the Messenger

Join me tomorrow to find out what I thought of Zusak's book, I Am the Messenger .  (Click here to read it).
Bonus Recommendation: another great WW2 read: Lois Lowry's Number the Stars .  Don't miss Lowry's notes at the back of the book.  I adore this story.  It made me fall in love with the King of Denmark.  I can't wait to read this one to my boys when they are old enough.

Click {here} to read Day 4:
Follow-up Friday - I am the Messenger

Click the image below 
to read the series from the beginning:  

Or hop over to the Nesting Place to jump down the 31 Days Rabbit Hole:


  1. This is already on my to-read list, but I think I need to move it closer to the top now!

    1. Yes! It took me a few chapters to get used to Death as the narrator and to be truly invested in the story, but after that... perfection.

  2. I didn't know they were making a movie.
    I liked this book, but it depressed me, mostly because I adored Hans and Rosa...

    1. Normally I am afraid of this type of book, because I feel everything so personally. But, for some reason, it didn't feel depressing. I did, of course, sob my guts out with ridiculous abandon. But I still loved every second of it. If it hadn't been for Max, and Frau Hermann, maybe I would feel differently. There was so much grace and brightness and redemption in those situations, it made the rest bearable, given the true darkness of that time.

  3. That book is beautiful and your review is beautiful, too. It's been hard for me to put into words why I deeply love this book, but you have done a great job of it. I will probably never recover from the character of Rudy, and I'm okay with that. He's one of my favorite literature characters of all time. Do you think you'll watch the movie? I'm not sure, but I'm leaning towards not watching it. However, I'm one of those nerds who likes to talk about the differences between the movies and the books and tell people "the book is so much better!" =)

    1. Thanks for your kind words. I'm up in the air about the movie. I usually can't help but watch, but I'm afraid it will ruin the book for me.

    2. Also, I love the story of your blog name. And I LOVE finding new book-loving friends.

  4. This is definitely one of my all time favorite books!

  5. I loved this book and cried throughout probably the last 1/4. So amazing. I am scared to go to the movie, but I always feel that way when I love books. Movies always seem to ruin them.

    1. I know - it's hard for a movie to ever live up to the greatness of a truly great book. I'm not sure yet if I'll see the movie or not.

  6. I loved The Book Thief and Number the Stars. I read Night by Elie Wiesel right after it and I felt it was a good companion book since it gave the opposite viewpoint.

    1. I've been wanting to read Night as well. But I've been apprehensive. How dark does it get? Obviously the things done were horrific, but I'm only capable of reading so much.


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