|The Book Thief|
Written by Markus Zusak
"Just..." He chose his words gradually. "Don't get caught." This from a man who'd stolen a Jew.--pg 319
This isn't just another Holocaust book. I want to start off by saying that. I've read several books about the Holocaust, from many different point of views, this one was unique. Other people will tell you that it's unique because the narrator is Death. But for me, the true inspirational quality of this book was that The Book Thief tells the story of a family, albeit an unconventional one.
What makes this family unique from other families portrayed in other Holocaust books is simply that they are regular people. They aren't super religious, they aren't activists, they aren't rich. This book isn't really about the Holocaust at all, or about hiding Jews from the German Nazis, not really. To me, it was as simple as this, a story about a family and what that really means.
The fact that this family is made up of people who aren't biologically related isn't important to the story, or maybe it is. Maybe it's the fact that each of them chose to be there and chose to stay and chose to love one another despite the lack of blood binding them.
Hans is a gentle giant in my mind. The kind of father who truely wants to keep his family safe because he loves them so very much. Roza is brash and unyeilding, she hides her fears and her softness behind a loud and often angry facade, but she loves her family unwaveringly. It's easy to see that despite her bluff and bluster. You see their inherant kindness and hardworking nature from the beginning. It shows in their ability to take in strangers and love them wholeheartedly as well as in their refusal to hate the Jews just because it's what everyone else is doing.
This is a story worth reading. I will admit it had a shakey start with me. I was often irritated in the first 50-60 pages until I adjusted to the strange format and style of writing. The idea of Death as a narrator enticed me, but the flow of the book was difficult to get used to as it jumped back and forth between the narrator, and little snippets of information like defintions of the regularly used German words. I did actually find the use of random German words to be a deterrant throughout the book. Although I understood the signifigance of including them, I felt it would have been easier to read had they been left out. It's a personal preference that not everyone will share.
However, once I had become accustomed to the strange back and forth nature of the writer, the book was actually a quick read. I urge you to give it a try, and stick with it, if at first the style isn't to your liking, I promise it gets better and the beginning really does lay the framework for the rest of the story. If you can make it to page 100, you'll want to finish it.