It’s been a while since I was able to finish a full novel and feel the inclination to review it afterwards. Just felt I should pen down a few thoughts about this book though…
The Fiance started reading this after our trip to Germany. We were quite affected by the concentration camps we saw there and this was a book that was set during that time period. It has been on our reading lists from then on.
We tried looking for it in our local library but could not find it. It took a bit of serendipity for us to get our grubby lil hands on it.
I was doing my usual rounds at the local mega book store during it’s 20% off season.
First off, I would not have gone in if the Fiance was ON TIME, for once. Anyway, out of the corner of my eyes, I somehow spotted this girl holding on to a copy of “The Book Thief”.
I don’t normally talk to strangers (deeply inculcated values from young), but I somehow found the “oomph” to approach this hostile looking lady and ask on which shelf I might be able to find the book. Apparently the book she was holding was the last copy the book store carried, and the store attendants (such politically correct terms) had to dig through the store room to find it for her. As luck (and probably my charming pitiful look) would have it, she claimed she didn’t need it any more and I could take it off her if I want to.
I stopped short of snatching it from her hands.
Anyway… on with the book….
It’s not so much a story about World War II as it is a love letter to words and books and the people who find solace in them and seek catharsis through them.
Told through the eyes of a German girl, it’s a strangely charming book that shows how war affects everybody… even the supposed perpetrators of the crime.
When we were in Germany, we were always surprised by the stories of resistance of some supposedly “common” Germans against Adolf and the Third Reich. There were plenty of stories of heroism and personal sacrifices against the tyranny of the masses. We’ve all heard the quote about “the only criteria for evil to triumph is for the good people to do nothing”. The narrative in the book, like the tales we’ve heard in Germany, is about how some extraordinarily ordinary folks refuse to let evil triumph.
It’s about Resistance… in every little way.
It’s about Words… and the power that they have over us.
It’s a really good and somewhat powerful read. A must read for anyone who had ever been transformed by good stories and by the people who tell them.