Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Power of Words: A Book Review of "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

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I read a lot of books about a lot of different things. Ideally, I would like to write reviews on all of them. However, most of the time I just start a new book instead. Books affect me in all kinds of ways. Sometimes, it is a quote that sticks out or an idea. Sometimes there is a character that I fall in love with over and over again. Sometimes it is simply the entertainment it offers. But then there are books that completely change you perspective. "The Book Thief" is one that will stay with me for a long time.

I remembered hearing about the hype of the book when it came out and then again when it received awards. I saw it go through the lists of best-sellers and just kept on reading other things. It wasn't until my Aunt told me about this particular book that I really even gave it a second glance. I'm glad I did.

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"The Book Thief" is set in Germany during the Nazi Reign. It begins with a little girl who sees death take her brother. This wouldn't be the last time she sees him. The narrator of this book, much to my great enjoyment, is none other than death himself. This perspective of WWII, from the eyes of death, is enough to easily make this book a favorite on it's own. He speaks with such eloquence and such heart. The imagery is breathtaking and the impact is heartbreaking.

The journey of Liesel as she goes about her days while surrounded by war, are full of ups and downs, victories and defeats. The one that connected to every moment...books. Words fuel the soul and no one was more passionate about them than Liesel. Going from the complete inability to read to reading to family and friends during raid night, she found power and comfort in words. They even saved her life, more than once.

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When everything around you falling apart, there is stability in books. I found this out in my move across the country. Even without Internet or furniture, there were still books. I have read so much lately because of that particular point. Whenever I feel unsure or alone I pick up a book, even new books are great friends for the soul. Even once things got settled and I became fore sure of myself again, books were still there encouraging me. Books have been a background in my entire life, much like the story of the book thief.

"The Book Thief" was a story that opened my eyes once again to the horrendous nature of the Nazi Regime and the dark truth of the loss faced during that time. Even among the darkness there are rays of light and reasons to laugh and of course, books to read. This book had me from the very beginning. I made a connection with the love of books and the power of the written word. It ranges from the most happy to the most devastating tragedy, but just as it was Liesel's life, in big and small ways it is all of our lives.

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As I began I mentioned that I like writing reviews, but for some reason I don't. Sometimes I don't know what to say or don't have much to add other than, "that was a good book." This book, "The Book Thief," held me in its grips long after I read the last sentence. This was a book that I could not carry on with my own life until I wrote down what the book made me feel, which was every emotion you can feel all between two covers of one book. This was a book that made me fall in love with reading all over again. This was a book that inspired me to write again. Not many books can accomplish that.

Yes, this is a book that will stay with me for a long time. There isn't much more to say other than everyone should read "The Book Thief." If for no other reason than to remember what being human is all about.


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