HERE IS A SMALL FACT – YOU ARE GOING TO DIE
1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.
SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION – THIS NOVEL IS NARRATED BY DEATH
It’s a small story, about:
some fanatical Germans
a Jewish fist fighter
and quite a lot of thievery.
ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW – DEATH WILL VISIT THE BOOK THIEF THREE TIMES
I had to take a couples of days to get my thoughts together before writing this review because if I’d have wrote it straight after finishing the book, I’m afraid it wouldn’t have been in coherent sentences and would probably have contained numerous spelling mistakes due to the fact I couldn’t see the keyboard through my endless tears. I’m sure you all know the story of The Book Thief but for those that don’t, it’s 1939, Nazi Germany and Liesel Meminger has been sent to live with an adoptive family – Hans and Rosa Hubermann. Liesel feeds off books: Stealing books to be more precise. It follows Leisel and her little adventure on Himmel Street, the beautiful relationship between her and her Papa, a Jewish fist-fighter hiding in their basement, a boy with hair the colour of lemons and of course, the books and the words which will eventually, come to save her.
When she came to write her story, she would wonder exactly when the books and the words started not just to mean something, but everything
The Book Thief is one of those books that if you haven’t yet read it, you probably really don’t want to because of how much everyone raves on about it and I can totally get that – I was like that at first too but as soon as I started reading, all those fears slipped away and if I’m honest, I kind of slipped out of reality for a week or so because I was so completely and utterly consumed by this book. The thing that struck me the most about this book was how real everything was. You could see yourself walking down Himmel Street with Liesel, talking to a boy with bright blonde hair, sitting in the kitchen with her Mama and Papa – the entire story is so alive with love, life, feelings, emotions and words.
The characters don’t feel like characters – they feel like real people and I can honestly say, I loved every one of them. The relationships and bonds that form between all these unlikely people are incredible and you feel like you’re a part of it. Liesel’s relationship with her Papa for me was the heart of the story as it’s just so beautiful and honest and real. Rudy – the boy with the hair the colour of lemons – is that friend, that person that everyone needs in their life. Despite a whole war going on around them, Liesel and Rudy’s friendship blossomed every day. My favourite character and relationship however, was Max. The Jewish fist-fighter they hid in their basement. Liesel and Max needed each other more than they even knew and the unlikely bond between a German book thief and a Jewish fist-fighter isn’t one that comes around very often but it’s these unusual pairings that have the most impact. Despite being stuck in the basement, Max gave Liesel so much hope and vice versa. I can see a resemblance to Max in someone I know personally, so I think that might be why I completely fell in love with his character.
I’m always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugliness and their beauty and I wonder how the same thing can be both
Liesel herself was a fantastic heroine. I loved everything she stood for – despite being a thief she’s completely unforgettable. The thing that stands out most about this book to me and to a lot of other people I can imagine is how it’s narrated. Death’s perspective isn’t one you usually – if ever – hear and I think it was done absolutely fantastically in this book. It’s something not many people would be able to accurately get away with. You always consider how humans feel when there’s a global tragedy, but never stop to think about how death might feel and this narrative has an outstanding way of making you think maybe, just maybe, death has a heart after all. He ever so gently takes you by the hand and leads you through this story and has somewhat an aura of calm and peacefulness about him. It was so carefully constructed and as the story focuses very much of the books and the words, I get the impression that every last word in this book was considered with the upmost importance.
I cried for the entire duration of the final 70 or so pages of this book – and 2 hours after. I just couldn’t come to terms with the fact that it was soon going to be over and this story and those characters weren’t going to be in my life anymore. The ending was so real and honest and painful and uplifting all at the same time. I can’t put into words how much everyone needs to know this story. Whether it’s by reading the book or if you’re not an avid reader, watching the film because it’s absolutely breath-taking. Eye-opening, hauntingly beautiful and a complete masterpiece. Stories like this don’t come around very often and I wholeheartedly believe that this will be a classic for future generations however nothing I’ve said here does it the justice it deserves.
I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right