Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012 2:23:05 AM
When I first picked up The Book Thief, I wasn't expecting much. It was back in fifth grade, and a teacher who watched me tear through novel after novel recommended it. So on a foggy day in December, I snuggled up with the thick, black book in front of my fireplace, prepared for mediocrity. I didn't move for the rest of the day.
Death narrates the story of Liesel Meminger, who is sent to live with foster parents after her younger brother dies. Years pass and her life is greatly influenced by words, and she starts to steal books. The horrors of World War Two are never far behind, and much affects her directly. A Jewish man seeks refuge in their basement, even as Hitler's army grows in strength. But from the beginning of the book, we know that everyone Liesel loves will perish before the end. The first time I read the ending, I was sad but soon moved on. Then I read it again, just a few months ago, and cried aloud. And yesterday, when I picked up the book and flipped to the end, I only made it through twelve pages before my eyes turned red and puffy. My nose ran ad salty tears leaked down my cheeks and onto my lips. I grabbed a wad of fluffy tissues to dry my face. I hate and love this book. Every characters' hopes and dreams were snatched away by a reluctant Death, who is tired of human war. I am too. So many of our problems are trivial when compared against Liesel's. I laughed and cried. I hit the book in frustration and imagined a happy ending that did not exist. My eyes are still watery and my heart hurts, but Markus Zusak's words are immortal and timeless.