“Of course, I'm being rude. I'm spoiling the ending, not only of the entire book, but of this particular piece of it. I have given you two events in advance, because I don't have much interest in building mystery. Mystery bores me. It chores me. I know what happens and so do you. It's the machinations that wheel us there that aggravate, perplex, interest, and astound me. There are many things to think of. There is much story.” – Death, The book thief.
Writing even a single sentence about this book is euphoric pleasure. I had a tough time trying to decide upon a quote to jump start this post. Far too many words have been written , far too many borrowed memories from the characters of the book. I think the one quoted will do a bit justice to the nature of the book.
World war 2, Germany, and then there is Hitler's Germany, a little girl called Liesel and her world, Death. Yes, death is the narrator of this little tale. Not death as an idea, not death as something that is inevitable, a living-breathing character who is death. A reaper who visits when people die. He ferries their souls about.
I think it's pointless to say that , Yes everybody dies in this book. I'll say it anyway. Yes. Everybody dies in the book. The characters that you'd resent, they die. The characters you'd like, they'd die. The characters that you will fall in love with, they will die. There is death written into all the pages of the book. There you go, I said it.
But this is not a book about death. This is not his tale. This is a story of life. To be precise, this is the story of a life of a wonderful little girl called Liesel Meminger. This is the story of her father, Hans Hubermann. Her mother Rosa Hubermann. Her friend Rudy Steiner. This is a story of lives of people, lives that intersect at different points in time, that converge for reasons that are simple enough. They converge because life happens. It happens plenty.
The tale shares it's fences with the looming war. Little Liesel travels to Himmel and the story takes flight from there. As readers , we all go on a journey of discovering , strike that, we all go on a journey of experiencing life's million nuances that the characters live through. As the war intensifies, the challenges intensify. War changes everything about us. That maybe true. It brings out the best in us, it brings out the worst in us. We are but left free to choose what we become. Angels or Demons. That is precisely what goes portrayed in this tale.
Death is the book's narrator. The fact that death is there, on every page, almost omnipresent, we learn to coexist with the big D. Beyond the initial shock of people dying, in time one grows insensitive to death. It's the world war for heavens sake! People become faces, faces become number, number becomes a statistic. We don't invest emotions into statistics. And then death his us hard. We are reminded of what it means to be human. Birth , by nature, is package deal that comes with an assured expiry date. Just when we grow tired of death, we wake up to the grim reality of our mortality.
Let me assure you, it is not the death that would choke your heart, flooding it with overwhelming emotions. Strangely, warmly, it is life that would bring us to tears. This book is a celebration of life. It is a testament to life. It paints a masterpiece , that is life, across the white canvas of the pages. In the end, even through death, it would be life that would seize the moment.
Conscious of what one stands to take away from this book, all I could see was life amidst all the death. If all you see are deaths, deaths that overshadow life, that eclipse the very essence of being alive, staying human, I bet you will feel depressed by the time you are done with the book. I felt sad. I wished I could share a slice of the pains outlined in the book so that I could bring a few more moments of a smile on the characters.
I loved the way the characters evolved. The farther the roads unwind, we get to see the wider spectrum of traits of all the characters that share their world with Liesel.
I've always struggled to pen words about the things I've deeply loved. With a not so subtle acknowledgement of how much this review slacks, I take pride in the fact that I do love this story a lot.
So, do you want to read it ? Hell, oh yeah. Go for it. You will not feel cheated.