I kept hearing about The Book Thief. It stayed on my to-read list for a long time, probably because I’d hear it described like this:
It’s about a little girl living in Nazi Germany. Her family hides a Jewish man in their basement and they become friends. The story is narrated by Death.
I thought it sounded too depressing. Strangely though, it’s not.
That’s the basic story, but it’s also about the survival and growth of love in the harshest environments. It’s about the effects of books on our lives, the power of words, and the importance of friendship and hope. More than that even, it’s about colors.
Markus Zusak paints with words and he doesn’t just paint pictures. He paints feelings into those pictures. His father painted houses and that must have influenced his descriptions because the colors come through in such a vibrant and unique way. A sense of wonder and amazement for life can be felt along with the colors and words.
When I read a book, I want to feel and experience everything. Reading The Book Thief feels like this:
Yes, there’s darkness and sadness in it. But there’s also light and so many glowing colors. And the light does have a way of shining through.