Set in Nazi Germany, The book thief is a unique story of a child who is in love with words. This desire makes her steal books. It is the story of her foster parents Hans and Rosa Huberman. Papa(Hans) has silver eyes and Mama is a wardrobe of a woman. But they are gentle and kind and have no qualms in sharing their meagre life. There is Rudy Steiner with lemon coloured hair who is the best friend and competitor of the book thief Liesel Meminger. Integral to the story is the Jewish fist fighter Max Vandenburg and Isla Herman
The story brings together the lives of all these non descript characters. Its the upheavals the actions of one man the Fuehrer cause on the people living in Himmel Street.
The book's narrator is an interesting character. I was on page 7 when I had to go back an re-read to ascertain who it was! The times were hard and it is easy to be empathetic towards the people whose lives were dragged because of one man's wish to dominate the world. But the author writes about the trying times in a flippant manner. Still he strikes the right chords. There is one section about the marching of Jews to a concentration camp. The pathos would move stones. The only thing that did not work for me was the lack of anything new. The book was as if being written for the very predictable ending that it had. And there were flashes of brilliance while depicting human emotions. But they remained as flashes only.
The book is a good story. It is about human nature. About the urge of humans to do things like steal things that of no material worth - just to feel good. It is a story that reiterates the inherent goodness in man. A tragic but positive story!
Some lines from the book that packed a punch
The day was gray, the colour of Europe.
I guess humans like to watch a little destruction. Sand castles, houses of cards, thats where they begin. Their great skill is their capacity to escalate.
Eleven-year-old paranoia was powerful. Eleven-year-old relief was euphoric.
It was the beginning of the greatest Christmas ever. Little food. No presents.
Their heartbeats fought each other, a mess of rhythm. Liesel tries to eat ers down. Te taste of heart was not too cheerful.
Liesel crossed the bridge over the Amper River. The water was glorious and emerald and rich. She could see the stones at the bottom and hear the familiar song of water. The world did not deserve such a river.
Say something enough times and you never forget it.