I have always been interested in the issues that surround WWII, and the human stories that come out of that horrible time. While the larger overarching problems are interesting in themselves, I have always fond personal, individual stories to be much more compelling. So when I heard about the story of the Book Thief, I was enchanted. It took me a few years to even watch the film, and once I had, I really wanted to read the book. I always found something to distract me, however, and used school as an excuse to read for pleasure less. That is why this semester, when I noticed The Book Thief on our list of book possibilities, I was floored. I would get to read a story I’ve been wanting to read for years, and get academic credit while I was at it.
Breaking into this book was difficult, despite my eagerness to read it. I had trouble at first due to the slightly irregular narrative style, and I feared that I wasn’t going to be able to read this after so much build up and anticipation. Once I made myself push through it and really try, for the sake of my past self, I recognized that this was actually an effective tool for telling this story, but also for representing the tragic times in which this story takes place. Also, the notes that are set apart from the rest of the text are helpful and informative, which at many points answers a question that the reader may have.
Obviously, as a book set during WWII, The Book Thief tackles many difficult issues, and it does them through an unfamiliar lens. Often these stories of from the perspective of a soldier, of a victim, or of someone involved in some of the horrible things that happened. This is the story of a girl who is just trying to live her life in the world that is changing around her. She goes through typical adolescent issues, like feeling inadequate in school, her friend trying to kiss her, wanting to learn to read, spending time with her new papa, and wishing she had more books.
Overall, this book is not only an amazing human story, a heroic story, and a war story, it is a moving tale of a girl coming of age in a difficult time. While the circumstances may not be the most relatable, this book really allows for people to work through problems. Whether it is a problem of poverty, being behind in school, relationships, or anything else that this girl endures, this book takes issues that should be only relatable within the confines of this book, and makes them applicable to today. This book is something that I believe that people of all ages from middle school to adults should read.b