The Book Thief is not a book. It is an experience. It is an investment. An emotional one, definitely, can’t really guarantee a financial investment. When the narration begins, you are thrown headfirst into the world of Liesel Meminger. You find yourself empathising with death, stealing books (chill, I’m not giving a spoiler, that’s in the title) and falling in love with a family you thought would be the hardest to love. You find yourself relearning the English language, syllable by syllable and you learn pretty cool abuses like Saumensch. You also slowly find yourself falling in love with Rudy, so much so that… Ah I’ve said too much.
The novel focusses on the life of Liesel Meminger – How after almost becoming an orphan, she gets adopted by foster parents; how she slowly learns the ways of the world; begins stealing books; how she develops a strong bond with Max Vandenburg, a 24-year-old Jewish boxer, who had made the Zimmermans’ house his hiding place and how all these incidents deeply and greatly influence her life. She goes from being a really quiet girl to a girl who actually picks up fights at school. Some readers may find it a little slow paced, but honestly, if you ask me, that is the beauty of the narrative. You find yourself slowly becoming not only a part of the story, but actually becoming the story.
You should read this book while munching on a Schnecken. Schnecken is a German pastry, quite similar to a cinnamon roll and has been named after a snail. And if you must know why I am suggesting a pastry to go with this book, the reason is quite simple. You will need double the number of Schneckens to cancel the toxic effect of the hundreds of Saumenschs thrown at you.
Have you read The Book Thief? Did you like it? Let me know, Kitaabikeemas.
PS. You can watch the movie too if you like.