Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Book Thief: My Thoughts

Have you ever read a book where the characters, the setting, and the story just captivates you. At first it is just a good book, but by the end you almost feel like you are part of the story?

The Book Thief was like this for me. It took me awhile to get into it, but once I got into it I couldn't stop reading. I loved the author's way of writing. I thought it was very interesting how it was told from death's perspective. It sound's very weird and creepy, but it was actually very interesting and not dark and creepy at all.

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It left me with a few thoughts: (These don't contain any direct spoilers, but you might figure out parts of the story..)
  • Heartbreak. I don't want to spoil the ending, so all I am going to say is wow. The ending was so sad!
  • Wow I am one lucky girl. Nazi Germany was such a terrible time of hunger, poverty, and heartbreak. Sometimes I think my life is hard, but it isn't. The challenges these people faced were incredible but they still found ways to enjoy life. The ending was also a wakeup call. I don't want to spoil it, but it really reminded me the importance of family and friends and how we take them for granted but they are so important in our lives.
  • Guilt. I haven't been the most amazing person ever. Why do I deserve to have such an amazing life and others who are so much better than me don't? I am so grateful.
  • Action. I know this book was set in the past, but there are so many people who face similar, if not worse poverty and devastation. What can I do to help those kind of people?
  • How can someone be so evil? Hitler was awful. How could someone be awful and evil enough to take out an entire population of people? How could you starve and kill millions of people with no thought? How could you cause so much trouble in an already crazy world?
  • How can someone who is so terribly evil, convince so many good people that this terrible evilness is ok? Hitler was awful, we established that in the last point, but how could he convince so many people that it was ok to kill and bully someone because of their religion. How could he convince people that it was ok to whip a good man who helped many people for giving a Jew a piece of bread, whipping him so hard that he was left with scars on his back? I was amazed at how many people were working for Hitler.
  • The Germans weren't the bad guys. Hitler was. His followers were. But there were thousands of people who were suffering in Germany. We often think of the all those who bombed Germany as the good guys. But they caused so much suffering for normal everyday people. Don't get me wrong- I am proud of all those who take down evil people. I am proud and in debt to all the brave men and women who sacrificed (and still sacrifice) all to secure my freedom and help those who were (and are) suffering so much.  I'm just saying it was eye opening to see how devastating it was to the poor German's. Bombs could flatten and kill whole neighborhoods without any of the victims knowing before it was too late.
  • The power of words. It was all through words. Hitler was able to convince others to do terrible things because of his knack for flattering words. Imagine if he had used those for good. It reminded me of the power each of us has. It reminded me that although I only have a handful of readers I have power to spread goodness. It helped me remember that I have a number of people watching me, weather it is a sibling or a friend or a little kid at church and I have such an impact. It reminded me to be a better example and to lift people up with my words.
  • The terribleness of war. The immense suffering of the people. The devastation. The ruin. The hunger. The crushing of homes and dreams. The killing of so many people. The unfairness of it all . How many innocent people's lives are altered, crushed, and forced to start over because of this terrible thing called war.
  • To be grateful. Kind of a repeat, but wow I am so blessed. We all are so blessed. Very few of us have had to face real hunger and starvation. Very few of us have been homeless. Very few of us have seen our loved ones die, us being the only ones left. These situations still exist, and there is much we can do to help. We have to realize how blessed we are and reach out to others. I am trying to work on this, how can I reach out and really help others? It seems like money is a big way to do this and as a teenager I don't have a steady income that I can use to serve others all the time. How can I use the resources and talents I have to help others? How can I truly sacrifice to help others and become more Christlike?
  • Joy in the simple things. In the book Liesel (the main character) helps her papa paint windows. They are pretty poor (like most people in that time), but he will often paint for free or for a small token of thanks. He cares more about the people and their safety from the overhead planes, than the money. So the first lesson is care about the people. Liesel writes that these are some of her fondest memories. They aren't glorious, they aren't filled with theme parks, movies, or tropical vacations. They were simply filled with time with her papa, small snacks, paint, and kindness. It helps me realize that the little things make up the most glorious days.
  • How fast things can change.  Things can change in an instant and we have to make our time worth it. We have to tell those we love that we love them, we have to be kind and say we are sorry. We have to live every day like it's our last or like it's our friend/family member's last (wouldn't we want to make their last day amazing?) This sounds corny, I know. I may slightly roll my eyes at all those kind of signs. But it is real and we have to live to our full potential. We have to prioritize. We have to choose to spend a few extra minutes with our little sibling that needs some love- it will mean so much to them! We have to read our scriptures instead of browsing social media. We have decide what is good, what is better, and what is best.
I love reading books where you learn a lot. I love words. They carry so much feeling. They inspire me. One of my favorite quotes was "His soul was so light because he had given so much of himself". That was slightly paraphrased, but since death told the story he collected the souls when they died. It made me think, I don't want to die rich and stuck up, I would much rather die slightly poor because I gave of myself.

Have you read this book before? Any thoughts?


  1. I haven't read the book, but I did see the movie. (I know. . . movie before book is like the ultimate literary sin. :P) This post has me totally wanting to read it now, though! And can I just say I really admire how you were able to pull so many awesome lessons from it? I had also forgotten how much the war affected so many innocent Germans; and you are so right-- we truly have so much to be thankful for. Finally, that quote about having a light soul from giving so much of oneself just jumped out at me. Thank you for sharing! Beautiful post, Shelby!


  2. Thank you so much this comment totally made my day! I'm SO glad you enjoyed it- I was kind of scared I might make some people bored with my literary nerdiness:)


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