I thought I loved books, but Liesel Meminger really loves books. In fact, she risks her safety, even her life, to steal them. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, tells the story of Liesel and her family, eking out a meager existence in Germany during WWII. The only bright spots in Liesel’s world, besides her loving foster father, and close friend Rudy, are the books she is able to get her hands on. When the bombs start falling and people flee to their basements, it is Liesel who calms people down by reading to them. When her father decides to take in a Jewish refugee, Max, Liesel bonds with him over their shared love of reading.
This is a heartbreaking story, of course, as any book about Germany in WWII is sure to be. It’s also filled with moments of great tenderness, bravery, and beauty. I love what The New York Times had to say about it: “It’s the kind of book that can be life-changing, because without ever denying the essential amorality and randomness of the natural order, The Book Thief offers us a believable hard-won hope…The hope we see in Liesel is unassailable, the kind you can hang on to in the midst of poverty and war and violence. Young readers need such alternatives to ideological rigidity, and such explorations of how stories matter. And so, come to think of it, do adults.”
The Main Street Book Club will be discussing The Book Thief on Tuesday, October 16th at 6:00 p.m. in the Library Community Room. We’re also having a potluck, so you won’t want to miss this one!