This was one of those books that has been sitting on my TBR list forever. Finally, I decided to give it a go. Although it isn’t my usual type of book, I found it to be a beautiful story.
‘The Book Thief’ tells the story of a young girl, Liesel, growing up in Germany during WWII. After the death of her brother, she is put into foster care by her mother. Unlikely as it may seem, she goes on to form a close relationship with her foster father as she grows up in a nation inundated by the Nazi regime.
Along the way, Liesel forms a friendship with a neighborhood boy, Rudy Steiner. She falls in love with books and takes to stealing during that trying time. In so many ways, her childhood mirrored any other “normal” happy childhood. However, the over-bearing presence of Hitler’s Nazi influence loomed in the background. The fear and lack of control felt by Liesel and her community was palpable.
When her foster parents choose to hide a Jewish man, Max Vandenburg, in their basement, Liesel’s story becomes even more complicated. There is no denying the brutal reality of life under the Nazi regime. I held my breath, waiting for their secret to be discovered.
While some parts of the story were predictable, given that we all know how WWII ended, other elements of this story surprised me. I had put off reading this story for quite some time because I expected it to be rather bleak. While there were some depressing, gloomy topics that were addressed, I was glad to find that the book did not take on that vibe entirely. Mostly, I found the story to be enlightening and inspirational.
Overall, this was a fabulous book. I can see it becoming a standard “required reading” book for school-aged children. It’s definitely one that I’ll have my daughters read. This was a beautiful story that should serve as a cautionary tale and a reminder to us all.