My View--The Book Thief

Such a terrible tale, beautifully written-terrible in the same way that all stories that pertain to this dark slice of history are terrible.

"She was a girl. In Nazi Germany. How fitting that she was discovering the power of words." These few lines from The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, best sum up the basic bones of the story. The rest is the meat that is best digested by each individual on their own.

The power of words. Every once in a while I come across a book that totally engulfs me and climbs deep inside my soul, never to let go--a book that possesses me to such an extent that I feel as if the story belongs to me. The Book Thief is one of these books.

The power of words. What initially captivated me was the unique style, relayed with such simple eloquence through an unexpected narrator whose credibility is not to be questioned. After that, it was the descriptions, both poetic and fresh. Who cannot appreciate such a picture as: "...Rosa Hubermann had a face decorated with constant fury. That was how the creases were made in the cardboard texture of her complexion."? The story is rife with these delicious types of scenic portrayals. The author forces the reader to see things in a manner slightly off-normal and vividly colored. It was easy to step through the painted words and go back in time--back into a harsh world of passion, deprivation, and devastation. It was easy to fall in love with Hans and Rosa and Rudy, just as easily as Liesel did. It was easy to experience the young girl's pain through the loss of her mother and brother and share her joys and failures as she came of age in war-torn Nazi Germany. Such is the power of words.

The power of words. The story examines all sides of that command and demonstrates how easily that power can corrupt the unsuspecting, maim the weak, uplift a wounded spirit, or alter an innocence warped by the perversities of war.

The lives that touched me within these emotionally dynamic and turbulent pages occasionally drove me to laughter or tears. Yet more often, I was inexorably caught within a long wave of my own pondering mind, overwhemed by "the power of the words." I'm certain the movie will be a worthwhile see, but I doubt it can match the tragic beauty of the written work.

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