The Book Thief – a review

I think The Book Thief is a very unfair book. Unfair in the sense that unless you have the habit of reading imbibed somewhere deep down inside you, there is really no point in you reading this book. The number of people who don’t read or read for everything other than the joy of reading are fast increasing and this book is one that can possibly prove counterproductive to that movement.

The Book Thief was clearly written by a man who has profound love for the written word and chose to tell a story that he knew not many would easily attempt – a story from the other side of World War II. Story wise it’s very simple – this is a story about a little girl and what happens when she is taken in by foster parents after her mother can no longer take care of her in war torn Nazi Germany. It’s a story, on the surface at least, about the various kinds of love a person can experience even and especially if they are not blood related. But in its heart lies the immense passion the author posses for reading and writing and it is astounding the level of beauty that passion brings out in his words.

As with many books, this one is labourious. It will take a bit of effort to finish but as with many others, it’s quite worth it. I also understand why the movie failed to make an impact; the thought occurred to me while reading why it needs to be made into a film at all. Some books are meant to be read for their literary value and not just for its narrative. Some books are just too plain beautiful not to be read and to be just watched on the big screen. This is definitely one of those books. Four stars for me on this one, out of five.

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