As a book lover and avid reader (ha! Not all the time, but I still like to think that) there are certain times where you come across books that will absolutely change your life. Well friends, I got done reading one of those books earlier this week. As I finished reading this wonderfully heartbreaking read, I was surrounded by tissues and a giant wet spot on my pillow. And relieved that no one was around to see what I looked like. I was a complete wreck. But, what else do you expect to happen at the end of a book that is narrated by Death and takes place in Nazi Germany?
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak tells the tale of Liesel Meminger and her life with her foster parents in Nazi Germany. While living on Himmel Street, Liesel becomes surrounded by people that truly change her life. From her friend and partner in crime Rudy, to Max the Jew living in her basement, her dear accordian playing Papa, the mayor's wife whom she steals from, and slowly, but surely her Mama, Rosa. Life on Himmel Street is far from easy and Liesel is followed by Death wherever she goes, literally.
This book is one that will truly stay with you for awhile and will have you crying tears throughout the whole thing or at least the last 50 pages. It's a book narrated by Death, but a book that shows you that words can give life and hope.
'"...the stars set fire to my eyes."' -- Max, after seeing the stars for the first time in quite awhile
'"You stink," Mama would say to Hans. "Like cigarettes and kerosene." Sitting in the water, she imagined the smell of it, mapped out on her papa's clothes. More than anything, it was the smell of friendship, and she could find it on herself, too. Liesel loved that smell. She would sniff her arm and smile as the water cooled around her."
"For now, Rudy and Liesel made their way onto Himmel Street in the rain. He was the crazy one who had painted himself black and defeated the world. She was the book thief without the words. Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain."
"In years to come, he would be giver of bread, not a stealer -- proof again of the contradictory human being. So much good, so much evil. Just add water."
"He punched him seven times, aiming on each occasion for only one thing. The mustache." -- Death talking about Max's dream of fighting Hitler
'"That's right." He walked to the concrete stairway. "Every night, I wait in the dark and the Fuhrer comes down these steps. He walks down and he and I, we fight for hours." Liesel was standing now, "Who wins?" At first, he was going to answer that no one did, but then he noticed the paint cans, the drop sheets, and the growing pile of newspapers in the periphery of his vision. He watched the words, the long cloud, and the figures on the wall. "I do," he said."
"Perhaps Liesel was the one thing he was a true expert at." -- Death talking about Hans Hubermann, Liesel's Papa
"God. I always say that name when I think of it. God. Twice, I speak it. I say His name in a futile attempt to understand. "But it's not our job to understand." That's me who answers. God never says anything. You think you're the only one he never answers?" -- Death
"She didn't dare to look up, but she could feel their frightened eyes hanging on to her as she hauled the words in and breathed them out. A voice played the notes inside her. This, it said, is your accordion." -- Death observing Liesel reading to the people crowded in the basement during one of the air raids on Himmel Street
"Silence was not quiet or calm, and it was not peace."
"And the girl goes on reading, for that's why she's there, and it feels good to be good for something in the aftermath of the snows of Stalingrad."
"She was still clutching the book. She was holding desperately on to the words who had saved her life." -- Death observing Liesel after an air raid on Himmel Street
"Words are so heavy, she thought..." -- Liesel when she began writing her story
"I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right." -- The last line of Liesel's book
"Papa -- the accordionist -- and Himmel Street. One could not exist without the other, because for Liesel, both were home. Yes, that's what Hans Hubermann was for Liesel Meminger"
Have you read The Book Thief ? What were your thoughts on it? If you haven't read it, I highly encourage you to put it on your reading list! It will change you.
To see more of what I'm reading, visit the Reading List.
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