The Book Thief


Three summers ago, I watched my husband devour this book on our my mom’s cottage, my favorite place in all of the world.  We were up for a few short days and he just couldn’t put it down.  I asked him about it and he said that he hadn’t been moved by a young adult novel this much in a very long time.  My husband was a former media center director at our local high school and he often took a book or two to preview for the coming year.  This particular book was a first for Marcus Zusak.  Many perhaps have read this book by this young author, but I want to tell you why it took me three years to have enough courage to read this book.  

Here is how Zusak starts The Book Thief

                    *** HERE IS A SMALL FACT***

                           You are going to die….

                       ***REACTION TO THE***

                             AFOREMENTIONED FACT

                         Does this worry you?

                              I urge you — don’t be afraid.

                              I’m nothing if not fair.

I read that lead after Dave finished the book and gasped.  A novel told from Death’s point of view?  No thank you, I wanted no one interrupting my sweet sunny day.  That day, I wanted to just chill, that day I wanted a beach novel and to ruminate on that fact that my daughter had just moved two states away, getting married in two weeks and my life would be forever changed without ‘my girl’ who taught with me in our district, who had coached with her dad and who would always cook up some new creative project or idea in her class of third graders. So no, I didn’t need the death thing, even if this novel is set in Germany during World War 2  and the main character is a foster child.  Normally, stories told about foster kids intrigue me since Kelly came into our lives six years earlier.  So three years ago, I said no thank you.

Well, I finally finished this fabulous book that had this amazing host of characters today, just two days before the anniversary of my heart attack three summers ago.

Back to the book…

…Yes, all the characters in the book do die…Death is true to his word.  And it is very strange that I picked this book up, just a few days ago and started reading it in Michigan the exact place I was three years ago.  I believe that sooner or later most human beings will wrestle with the whole notion of death at some point in their lives.

Oops, back to the book again…

This book brought me to tears in several places.  Can you remember the last time that you just outright cried at a line in a book?  For me it comes on and I’m not usually aware that it is even coming.  The part of the book that I connected with was Liesel’s foster-father and their relationship.  She calls him ‘Papa’.  He is tender with her from the beginning of the book.  He realizes that because of her mother abandoning her, she could potentially be buried for life.  He brings purpose to her life and teaches her to read.  Reading brings all of us life.

My husband Dave, from the moment, he brought Kelly to live with us knew that it was a lifetime committment.  This summer they are reading a book on leadership and discussing it together.  So when I got to this scene in the book where they are watching the Jewish people marching to their death, I was moved by this very simple sentence… Hans Huberman is such a humanitarian and he reminds me of my husband.  Here is the short scene before my eruption.  The Jewish people are marching to their death camp.

                                               Just give him five more minutes and he would surely fall into

                                              the German gutter and die.  They would all let him, and they would

                                              all watch.

                                                                                          Then,  one human.

                                                                                                 Hans Huberman.

Words, they have the power to change lives, reading them, writing them.

I am grateful to God each and every day that I learned how to read.  I am grateful that today that I’m healthy…that I have been able to see all three of my children grow into strong and healthy adults.  Thank you God, that you know I still have work to do before the sun sets on my life.

Snip snap snout, this very unusual book review is almost told out.

PS  If you haven’t read it…please give it a whirl.  I’m getting his latest book for my trip to Costa Rica to see Samantha, my first grandbaby.

And death is the ultimate equalizer…isn’t it?


About Nanc

lifelong teacher who is semi-retired (does this sound better?) who loves God, family and laughing... who hates social injustice... who wants to write every day... who needs to exercise every day... who blog hops... who wants to live her everyday life led by her savior, Jesus Christ!

6 responses »

  1. Thank you God, that you know I still have work to do before the sun sets on my life.

    Well, this is just a powerful post, full of emotion. I didn’t expect to cry reading a book review. Thank you for sharing your heart, your feelings of loss when your daughter moved, the book, Kelley, your joy at life after a heart attack.
    Now when I see your smiling face on your posts, I will be reminded to pray for your heart.

  2. I’ve been wanting to read The Book Thief for awhile now. Thanks for posting it. It’s the nudge I needed to get it out from the library in the near future.

    It’s funny how sometimes we’re not ready for a book, no matter how much people tell us we HAVE to read it when it comes out. We have to do things on your own terms, don’t we?

  3. These words come from a deep place in your heart. Thank you for writing. I have heard of the book, now I will try to read it.

    I think “Finishing Strong” are true words for you.

  4. I started this book a few years ago and never finished it. I think I read about 1/4 or 1/2 of it. I don’t know why but I just couldn’t bring myself to keep reading it. Ever since, I constantly feel like I should pick it up again because it has such good reviews. Thank you for the reminder. Your last line was powerful.

  5. Me, too. I started but never finished the book. Now I will. And I will think of your words, too, as I read it. I’ll be reminded of what you are grateful for and how this book reminded you of those precious things. Thank you.

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