Coming to a theater near you…. hopefully. Markus Zusak announced it to Facebook this morning. His book is finally officially going to be made into a film, and when I saw it, there were a few moments that I stopped breathing. You see, I read The Book Thief for the first time last summer, and… to sum up, it was one of those books that, when you close the cover at the end and wipe the tears out of your eyes, you just know that you will never forget this story.
All year, whenever someone I know is looking for a book recommendation, this is the one I tell them to read. I even got my boss, a 60-something hippie/mountain-man to read it. I didn’t mention that it was ‘juvenile’, just handed it to him (he gives me books to read, too) and told him is was great. After he read it he confessed that he’d thought “Oh, not another holocaust story…”.
Well… yes and no. This story is about WWII, but where most holocaust stories are from the POV of Jews or prisoners of war, this one is about a little German girl who is battling her own emotional wars. He mother gives her up for foster care, her brother dies (this all happens in the first chapter, so I’m not spoiling it, really.), all the good things in her life seem to abandon her… and while this is happening, they are in the midst of Germany under Hitler. One of the interesting aspects for me was how many people, children especially, who lived in Germany, didn’t really know what was going on. They were told what to do and had to do it, but nobody explained why.
The characters in the book were so real to me. There have been a very few books that pull me in so deeply that I actually forget I’m reading a book, and this was one of them. The writer-admirer in me is enthralled, and once I come back to the surface I end up reading over it again, dissecting the writing itself, trying to figure out how the author did that. (Howl’s Moving Castle* and The Thief are two others off the top of my head.) I’m trying really hard not to spoil the book for you, because I want you all to read it and be as blown away as I was. Trust me, there’s so, so much more to it that I can’t tell you. It’s wonderful. Just read it.
*Just FYI, I loath the cover on this particular edition. The castle did not. have. legs.