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
Image source: http://www.amazon.com/