The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is the only book which has shepherded tears in my eyes. Whenever I am surrounded by books, my soul is prone to become wildly excited and uncontrollable. Therefore, I have read many books, especially the ones related to war. But, ‘The Book Thief’ is different. We can’t compare it with other books, using the phrase – ‘like chalk and cheese’ but, we can surely opine various instances which justify the ‘differential’ aspect in this book.
It’s not fair to say that it is a story about warfare and an engagement in a vigorous struggle. I believe that it’s the story of Liesel Meminger. In this informal chronicle, she is a foster daughter of Hans Hubberman and Rosa Hubberman. As the tale commences, Liesel is not even able to write her name but as the story progresses her foster father teaches her to read and write. Eventually, she learns and develops a knack for reading. The narrative revolves around the Second World War and also highlights the struggles of a German Family who tends to hide a Jew in their basement. Moreover, it also places emphasis on the emotional state of the people during the war.
The best element of this book is that it is narrated by death. The author has wonderfully adapted the character and tone of death. The methodology behind this is alluringly systematized. It commences with an awareness statement – ‘You are going to die’ and ends with – ‘I am haunted by humans.’ It makes the reader ponder upon the significance and perpetual nature of death. At one point in the story, when a bus full of Jews is being driven to a concentration camp – unfortunately, one of them dies due to extreme starvation. So, some of the Jews aspire that death should have taken them along because being dead was considered better than the camps. Arriving to the everlastingness of Death, the author writes, “It has been many years since all of that, but there is still plenty of work to do. I can promise you that the world is a factory. The sun stirs it, the humans rule it. And I remain, I carry them away.” Over and above, Death has something really amazing to say about it’s relationship with War. It says,”Death and War are not best friends. War acts as a boss of death. Standing right above it’s shoulder and instructing it.”
The most attractive irony in this book, is regarding the name of the Street, in which Liesel Meminger resides. The name of the street is ‘Himmel Street.’ In German, Himmel means Heaven. At the end, time plays havoc with the residents of this street and due to a delay, Himmel Street becomes a victim of continuous attacks of bombs.
The book involves a lot of thievery, not only of books but various other things that add to the excitement of the life of Liesel and her best friend Rudy Steiner. Moreover, it gives us a perfect glance of Hitler Germany.
The book was also converted into a film. But, I will say that once you have read the book, you will not enjoy the film, as various excerpts have not been shown in the same. So, to my way of thinking, the movie displays only some proportion of the story and if you want to experience everything that happens with Liesel – read the book.
When you read this book – you will wish to finish it and at the same time you will never wish to finish it. It has every component of a great book. ~Palak Arora