Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Book Thief

So because I had to write a letter to my teacher about The Book Thief for my summer reading assignment, I decided that it was close enough to a blog entry that I could just post it here too. I edited it so it's a lot less mind numbing and boring.

When I first picked up The Book Thief by Markus Zusack, I was excited. Yes, I know that is usually not the response you get to a summer reading book, but even just within the first few pages, I knew this book was going to be different than any I had ever read. I loved this book because it was probably one of the most thought provoking books I have ever read, and not just in the “what is the answer to life” way, but in the way it was written. Although there were some pieces that I undeniably disliked, the book as a whole was one of the most powerful books I have ever read.
The stories within the stories fascinated me. They exemplified the changes that occurred during Nazi Germany as well as helped me relate the varied stories to my own life. For example, the story of Rudy as he painted himself black and ran the 100-meter so that he could resemble Jessi Owens. The negative and fearful reactions that were provoked from this incident from his father enlightened me to how lucky I really am. Although I may be sheltered in some extent, the racial and religious acceptance that is found in our society today, although there are exceptions, is something I can now value after reading The Book Thief.
Although I did value the stories within the stories, I found some of them unnecessarily prolonging and irrelevant. I realize that the experience that I had with The Book Thief would not have been the same is Zusak had not included these stories, but some of the insight that I received into Liesel’s life made the book so that it was long and tedious rather than enthralling as it was in most other parts of the book. As a consequence into these random yet heart filled and insightful stories, I did not really begin to appreciate the book until about 200 pages into it. As a general rule of thumb, if a book does not grab my attention by page 100, I put it down. Although I am grateful that I did not do so with this book, I wish that Markus Zusack had not danced along the edges of the conflict rather than just entering it within the first pieces of the book. If it had not been for Zusacks’ incredible gift for arranging words on a page in the unique way that he does, I severely doubt that The Book Thief would have become the phenomenon that it is, if in fact, it had even been published.
Along that note, probably the thing I most got out of The Book Thief was the writing and narration style that Markus Zusack gave Death (the narrator). This entire book is poetic with lines that allow you to fully immerse yourself in Nazi Germany. The entirety in which I was absorbed was so strong that reading this book was like watching a film in my head. Everything from tone of voice to broken silences (“The silence snapped like a rubber band”) to the use of describing words and objects that would normally be irrelevant to the situation (such as on “small chips of rain.”) make this book unique and enthralling.
A piece that I loved about getting to know Liesel was her love for books. This common thread allowed me to connect with the book and think about what reading and books mean to me. I realize how lucky I am to be receiving and education as well as having an unlimited and easy access to books.
*runs up and hugs the closest librarian she can find*
To read more about Markus Zusak and The Book Thief click here!
More to come,

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