There are many reasons why a book is special, for me the book has to have a way of making you see things in a way you have never even thought of before. Whether it is spiritually, intellectually, or mentally.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak hit the nail on mentally.
The last book that made me pause, and thoroughly think, “What am I doing with my life” was If I Stay by Gayle Foreman.
In this story we explore World War II Germany, and through Death’s eyes we watch a young girl by the name of Liesel Meminger, a foster child living in the poor neighborhood in Munich.
Liesel is the famous book thief that caught Death’s eye while he collected the souls of the fallen. He first met her when he collected the soul of her younger brother and caught her in the act of stealing her first book The Grave Digger’s Handbook.
I have never read a book where I can say that the narrator is completely reliable. He has no real attachments to this girl. He is Death; he has few emotions towards humans but even so he still feels for them. He feels: curiosity, pity, happiness and sadness. The most un-human character was the most human. (Does that make sense?) He has human-like emotions, but he is not allowed to be part of humanity.
Death was blunt with all the characters in story and even forewarned that they were all going to die. He also forewarned us of all the major events that were going to happen and gave us as readers’ small glimpses of how it was going to occur.
There was some foreshadowing, by the first couple chapters you are already aware of the characters who will die by the end and it was heart breaking because you end up growing attached to a few them.
It was the worst feeling in the world watching yourself fall in love with a character knowing that he or she was not going to survive the story.
But I guess that was why The Book Thief was so special, you were Death, and you watched people live their daily lives unaware that you were aware that it was going to be over soon.
Liesel, Max, Rudy, Papa, Mama, Tommy. All these characters made it into my heart and watching most of them die was a painful experience.
I do not wish to give much of the story away, because The Book Thief is a piece of literature that everyone should read, much like 1984.
It is a story that will survive the test of time, because it creates awareness in the reader that life is unexpected and you never know when it will end. It can end in your sleep, like for most citizens of Himmel Street, or on your journey to someplace new. It can all end unexpectedly, not only your life but also the lives of people who you hold dear, it can end, and it may end filled with regrets.
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