Hello dear readers,
Yes, I feel so old because what keeps going through my mind is 'where does the time go?' I keep trying to convince everyone that the earth spins faster in Vermont! No one believes me! All this to say I should have written my review of The Book Thief sooner but just didn't get around to it.
Let's see, what question do I want to answer first? Death's visiting the living and dead. Conceptually I loved it. Death was loving, caring and sometimes not happy he had to collect a soul. It's always good to have literary confirmation that we have a soul! The interesting part to me was where did he take the souls. Could death have been Jesus or God or one of the prophets? I think I may have liked Death as the best character -- if (s)he was considered one.
Max and Liesel were both rescued by Hans & Rosa. Rosa is a hardhearted character that only has the shell of hardheartedness. She is sympathetic, empathetic and deeply caring. She accepts without question the entry of the refugees and cares for them as best as she could. Hans is just one of those bleeding hearts who would do anything for anyone yet he does have his principles.
How many of us would allow a person to 'steal' into our homes to read, eat, or rest as Ilsa allowed Liesel? Liesel was a waif, a orphan, a street urchin. Bravely Ilsa allowed her to enter the home to read and steal books. How brave! The agoraphobia prevented her from living life for years and yet when necessity presented itself she stepped out of her shell to help Liesel. Awesome!
What must it have been like to live in Munich during this time? Horribly frightening but without the ability to see what actually happened on a grand scale. As I mentioned before Dachau was a horrible place on the outskirts of Munich and to envision those Jews walking down the streets makes my stomach roil. Then, Hans tried to offer some kind of solace and was beaten. How many times did the people try to stop the progression of Nazi Germany and were rebuffed, killed, and tortured. Conscription of the fathers and brothers against their desire to serve and/or abandon their families. ughh! I don't know how to express my disgust and thankfulness that I didn't live in that time and place.
As a child I learned 'sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me'. And yet, the words followed by actions killed millions because of the built up hatred caused by those words. The military operates by dehumanizing the enemy. When do we listen to the 'other side' for what it is - just another opinion - instead of disagreeing immediately. We don't even listen to the words - even though they don't hurt - to avoid the nest step of stones. We all try to live by what is right and good but fall short of our own expectations. Is that why death says: 'Humans haunt him'? We are a conundrum to death.
The Book Thief is one good book! I couldn't put it down and couldn't keep reading, a total ying and yang, good verses evil, truth against lie. I wonder how much of the story came directly from Markus' family story? How much is truth mixed with fiction? I would highly recommend this book. Would you?
Have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day.
Keep on Reading,