December 3, 2013

Book Review: The Book Thief

It has been a long time since I’ve read a fiction book that actually seemed to interest me – no, intrigue me – and to keep me turning the pages until I reached the last one. It’s the first book in a long time that I wondered about the characters, longed to know what happened to little Liesel and fill in all the gaps between her childhood and that last page, when Death scoops her up and takes her away.

Of course, my favorite quote of the story is the very last sentence, Death speaking: “I am haunted by humans.” I don’t know if its because of all the horrible, torturous things people do, or the innate and inane nature of humanity, or the feebleness of our souls, but those words of the Reaper or Death are so poignant – so ringing – for me.

With that said, I have no possible idea why this book or books like it are written. I couldn’t conceive of such a tedious and yawning subject or lack of purpose as this story carries along. It reminds me of the monotonousness of Moby Dick, only the last few pages of any real worth. But that is the great things about books and how they mean so much to so many, how one single book can and does attract and repel. I’ve always believed the author does not write for his readers, but for himself. The experience between story and reader is much different and separate from that of author and book – often distinguished by bounds of time, distance, culture, and a limitless myriad of personalized experiences.

Is the Book Thief worth reading? I suppose. Does it really have a point? I’m not sure. I’ve always been drawn to the macabre, so I think if they remove the Reaper from the movie it will be terrible. The book, though, was at least interesting if nothing else.

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