In our modern times, we often forget about the past. Primarily the last century or so. We choose to ignore the great and horrible deeds past generations have committed, maybe because we think they’re no longer relevant; they don’t affect us.

This might come as a shock, but what our ancestors did in times past has built the world we live in today. We don’t know what our lives would look like with a single historic event missing, but what we often discuss is the impact of World War II and the Holocaust. The Book Thief centers around the struggles of a young German girl who, as the title suggests, harbors a love for books and words. She recognizes the fact that words are more powerful than any gas chamber or concentration camp could ever be. Words are what allow Adolf Hitler to convince the German population to carry out the horrible things that they do. Words are a burden, but they are necessary to our survival.

The book follows the story of the girl through a unique perspective: literally the character Death. This allows for insightful observations to the story written in bold that completely transforms the voice of the story. The combination of Death’s commentary throughout and the  intelligent voice of the girl (which tends to run off on tangents) make the book a notable narrative.

I found that the most shocking part is that as much as Liesel, the girl, loves books and words, at the beginning of the story is unable to read. Through hard work with her adoptive father in the middle of the night, she becomes an expert at the subject, going as far as stealing books (you know, being the book thief and all) from a burning bonfire and from the library of the mayor’s home.

This book delves into the depths of the human mind spectacularly, exploring the thoughts of a young girl and how they relate to adult characters and even Death. It proves how even when we don’t actively realize it, words are such an essential part of every single person’s life.


Maja (teen blogger)

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