Have you ever encountered something that you just enjoyed so much and after sharing about it with your friends, you learn that you are years behind?
That was me with The Book Thief.
We were living in Wake Forest, North Carolina when I saw the movie. I remember posting a Facebook status about how I always seem surprised when movies about Nazi Germany end sadly. But the movie was so well done and so emotionally drawing, that I had to add it to my Amazon wish list. When I did so, I discovered that it was a book.
Yes, I was that behind. I’m ashamed to admit it.
Finally, this past Christmas (2017) my brother purchased the book for me.
Yes, it sat on my wishlist for a couple years before it was bought. I’m ashamed to admit that as well.
Then, on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 I opened the book to read.
Yes, it took me over five months after receiving it to start reading it. I’m ashamed okay.
Why am I so ashamed? Because this book is that good.
There are very few books that I enjoy reading if I’ve already seen the movie.
I forced myself to quickly read through the Hunger Games series before the movies came out. I can’t get through The Hobbit because I saw the movie first. In fact, I will often choose to not read a book if I have already seen the movie. The few books that I can still enjoy reading after seeing the movies include anything by Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, of course the Harry Potter series, and now, The Book Thief.
I managed to finish the 550 pages of the book in four days because I could not put it down. I knew what happened. I remembered most of the details. I knew how it ended. But I could not stop reading. The voice of the book had me hooked.
The thing about a book about Nazi Germany is that it is a constant tug of war with your emotions. This book was enjoyable to read because it was so well written. But the contents of the book are deplorable. To read the actions of what was truly happening in history made my skin crawl. If you didn’t already hate Hitler, this book will make you. If you didn’t already feel extreme sympathy for the Jews, this book will make you–and the main character is not a Jew! It’s a book that you will love and hate equally. You will love it because of the art by which it was created and you will hate it because of the truth within its pages.
This book, while discussing the power of words, demonstrates the power of words. It’s a story about a story about a story. It is so well done.
If you have not read it, please do.
Your heart will break. You will laugh. You will feel. You will cringe. You will not regret it.
*There is some language, so this is definitely not a story to choose to read for family book night.