“I guess humans like to watch a little destruction. Sand castles, houses of cards, that’s where they begin. Their great skills is their capacity to escalate.”
This review works in conjunction with my review video so make sure you watch that too!
The Book Thief is essentially a coming of age story, but combined with the narrative of the lead up to, and duration of, World War II. It follows Liesel, a young German girl from the age of 9 before the war had started, through until somewhere between the age of 14 and 15 during and after the war.
Throughout the book we watch Liesel grow and develop a moral standing, and then reconcile her own morals against the backdrop of Nazism and the doctrines of the war. An interesting thing about this book is that it’s narrated by Death, which really highlights one of the main themes of the book. (You can’t write a book about war without exploring the concept of death).
I also thought it was really unique and interesting that the book covered the lives of the average German citizen throughout the war. So many books on the topic of the Holocaust focus on the horrors and slaughter that faced the Jewish population during the war, and those stories are vital of course. But I do believe that in order to prevent risk of anything like this happening again we do need a focus on the average citizen, and the ways in which they can be lead to or accidentally perpetrate oppression, which is one reason why I really would recommend this book. Overall, three stars from me!
SPOILER FREE SUMMARY
The book highlights the fact that humans are capable of both kindness and cruelty, what implications does this have for the concept of ‘good guys’ vs. ‘bad guys,’ and ‘us’ vs. ‘them’?
What points does the mini story ‘The Word Shaker’ make about the importance of words and particularly of the dangers of hate speech?
“When it came down to it, one of them called the shots. The other did what he was told. The question is, what if the other is a lot more than one?” What does this quote say about herd mentality and the effects of complacency on history?