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The Power of Words: "The Book Thief" Review

12/11/2015

My task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel — it is, before all, to make you see. That — and no more, and it is everything.”

 

-Joseph Conrad

 

It is a tool that we use in our everyday lives; a basic building block to the fundamentals of the existence of humanity. Whether we like it or not, words have and continue to influence our society’s flaws and perfections. The Book Thief, I believe, gives a great insight to this detail.

 

The novel takes place through Death’s eyes in a Nazi-infested Germany. The unique narration by Death himself - who strongly opposes all stereotypical qualities of a Grim Reaper-like character - takes readers through Liesel Meminger’s four most important years of her life. We first meet Liesel as a timid young girl grieving the loss of her blood-related family. In a split second, Liesel is cast into a new world with new parents, new friends, new surroundings, and many new lessons that come her way. With the help of the people around her, she finds comfort through words and eventually learns about the power that comes with them.

 

It’s often very difficult to incorporate political and mature subjects into a YA book. Zusak, however, effectively mixes topics relating to extreme racism and fascism with topics many people could relate to with their own childhoods, such as senseless adventures around the neighbourhood, discovering the morals in growing up, and a LOT of foolish, naive love. I’ll also admit that more than once, I found myself in a heap of tears from how the author managed to string up such poetic sentences. The phrases that he wrote seemed to emerge from delicate strokes of a paintbrush, turning even the most devastating events of the book into million dollar art displays.

 

Whether you’re looking for a book to devour and analyze, or just looking for a time-passing read with gripping dark humour, The Book Thief is guaranteed to make the cold weather a little more heartwarming.

 

*On a side note, you might’ve noticed that I’d included a quote up at the top. From now on, I’ll be putting a short quote at the start of each blog post that fits with the general idea of each entry. They’re not there for any particular reason, but kind of just because I just really like quotes.

 

‘Till next week, then!

 

Ottawa Public Library’s Teen Bloggers in Residence are fantastic teen volunteer writers from across the city. They blog about their favourite teen reads and authors, and get writing assignments to cover special teen events happening at the library. Their residency rotates throughout the year. Call-outs for upcoming terms are made through the Teen Blog in May/June, September/October and January/February.

 

Image: The Book Thief

The Book Thief

By Zusak, Markus
Image: The Book Thief

The Book Thief

By Zusak, Markus
Image: The Book Thief

The Book Thief

By Zusak, Markus

The Book Thief

By Zusak, Markus

The Book Thief

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
By Williams, John
Image: The Book Thief

The Book Thief

By Zusak, Markus
Image: The Book Thief

The Book Thief

By Zusak, Markus

The Book Thief

La Voleuse De Livres