The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Monday, 13 December 2010

The Book Thief Who Stole My Heart

As you know, I rarely write a post about books I have read because opinions differ about what constitutes a good story. But this book gripped me from the very first sentence and took me on a journey. To Germany. During World War II. This is not a story with a complicated or convoluted plot. It is just a story about a girl, her foster parents and a Jew they hid in their basement - in Germany, during WW2. At school we learnt the history of the war but this story struck me with the humanity of its characters. Because the further I read, the more I realised that even Germans lost their loved ones during this war, even Germans were hungry and even Germans had a heart. Perhaps you might think it is strange that it took a story for me to realise this but sometimes, history de-humanises the countless numbers that died on both sides and makes statistics out of all the men, women and children that lost their lives during this conflict.
The Book Thief is one of those books which I did not want to put down and, at the same time, I read very slowly, because the characters became so dear to me that I did not want the story to  finish. Essentially, the underlying theme of the book is very simple. It is a story about the power of words - the beauty of words, the magic of words, their terrible hold over people. Because  the protagonist,  Liesel Meminger, understood the importance of words and how words could set you free in the same way that the words of a mad-mad had seduced and mesmerised a nation. The frightening thing is that, despite the lessons the world should have learnt, I am sure that if someone comes along whose words are capable of swaying nations, the world will once more be brought to the brink of catastrophe and disaster.
In Liesel's words:" I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right". Like Liesel, I too am in love with words ... struggle with words ... have felt the power of words - words talk to be, sing to be, soother me and anger me ... Perhaps that is why I felt that Liesel Meminger and I are kindred spirits on a highway of words, on a journey called life
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  1. I'm sold on this book by your review, Loree! We're under a deep freeze today so I can't go any where, but I will get this book ASAP..

  2. this sounds like a fantastic read, loree - thanks for this great review!

    I'm off now to see the previous post i missed with the cute foto of you and your hubby! ;-)

  3. Wow..Beautiful Loree...and so wonderfully written...gorgeous and inspiring...fabulous book! Hey..I love your book reviews..please do are awesome!!

  4. i just went book shopping this weekend and i saw this book on one of the shelves. i might have to go back and get it now.

  5. Terrific book review, I want to read it now too!

  6. you are invited to follow my blog

  7. You just convinced me to read: The Book Thief, Loree. My daughter works at a library and can get it for me!

  8. A very interesting article, thank you for this beautiful sharing !! :))


  9. It must be a truly beautiful story, Loree, thank you for writing about it, becuase now I am eager to read it!

  10. You know for the Germans it was probably even worse. When I was 2 the war ended, there was nothing to eat, all cities destroyed to 80 or 90 %. Most of my classmates had no father anymore. I remember even when I was 10 our playgrounds were ruins. Honnestly as I wasn't used to anything else for us children it was a kind of Disney Land, full of surprises. Only today I realize how dangerous it was. I never realized either that my family had to fight every day to get some food and especially to feed me !
    I too only understand now, what the German "normal" people went through.
    BTW My friend Vivi is 73 and her boyfriend is really 94 ! but he is like a young man he is just great ! You would never believe that he is so old ! He still lives alone, drives his car and is so funny. They were lovers 36 years ago, but then separated and when both became widows they got together again. A very touching love story !

  11. Thank you so much for writing this review!
    So interesting to read that is has been written by a young Australian author. I will put it on my wish list right now.

    Have you read Ursula Hegi's "Stones from the River"?

  12. I read this book a couple of years ago and loved it. This is a really good review. x x

  13. That is a touching book review. My mother lost her German father during war after he was conscripted. He was a carpenter and bike racer and lost both legs when he stepped on a landmine in Russia where is is buried but no one knows where. My mother still has letters he dictated, love letters, to my Oma on that very, very thin paper. I call it onion paper. Yes, tragic for so many cultures, and I've always felt since high school, it could happen again. But, as Scarlet O'Hara would say, "I'll think about that tomorrow." :) Have a lovely day ~ xox Alexandra

  14. I loved this book. I enjoyed your review of it too!

    By the way, I love the post about how you and your DH met, lovely story.

  15. Howdy Loree
    Oh dear sweet lover of words thank you for once again touching my heart.
    This was a wonderful review.
    It seems when I think I am in danger of my heart turning to stone I find myself visiting your beautiful blog and once again the ice in my heart is melted away by the warmth of your words.Thank you for being here !
    A very Merry Christmas to you and yours.
    Hugs from far away Texas
    Until next time
    Happy Trails

  16. Looks like a book I have to read...

  17. Stop by to wish you a Happy Holidays, Loree!

  18. I just noticed this and have to tell you I'm reading it to my daughter. She's 11 and old enough to read on her own, but she dislikes reading in English, since she is in school in France. I bought it on my last trip to the U.S., recommended by a 6th-grade teacher moonlighting at Barnes & Noble (which is nice for shoppers but I think it's terrible that a teacher needs to moonlight, and during the school year, too).


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