The Book Thief is not only a book about the war and about how badly people lived that time, it’s about the fact that people still lived, no matter what troubles were around. The main character of the book, a girl Liesel about ten years old, used to read books even at such difficult time. Reading was her favorite pastime. Moreover, she saved a friend reading books to him. She was calming people in the bomb shelter by telling them stories from books. She used to steal books, but she returned them back. Also, this is the story of love, the love of children who have experienced much together.
The book impresses with its truth, it opens readers’ eyes to historical events and sincere feelings of people in Germany during the World War II. This is a book about the life and death, about friendship and love. It is very important that this book does not tell about enemies and winners, but it shows the horror of the war. It does not matter where exactly on the globe the war is and at what historical period it takes place – the result is death, pain, and losses. It is very important that the book contains historical inserts of the events of the Second World War, it complements the artistic picture and adds informative content, which is very useful for modern readers.
A touching book, written by Australian author Markus Zusak, is one of the best among contemporary creations about the wartime in the 1940s. At the beginning, the train took Liesel and her little brother to Munich to foster parents. Children were separated from the harmful influence of their communist mother. The brother of Liesel was dead on the road and at his hasty funeral in a potato sack at the station she first felt a wild desire to steal a book that was unattended. Liesel brought the book to the foster parents’ house. The stolen book, by the way, was something like a manual for funeral workers. But Liesel did not know this because she was not able to read. And having learned to read, she longed the smoothness f the paper under her fingers even more. But in the house of her guardians, ordinary German workers, there was no such pampering. Her foster parents was a middle-aged kind Hans and his wife Rose, who made an impression of being rude and heartless, but later this impression was not confirmed. The neighbor boy, Rudy, liked Liesel and they quickly became friends. A bit later, they became more than friends. Liesel started to lend books at rich houses, then at the famous bonfires burning on the Munich squares.
In her new school, it turned out that Liesel did not know how to read and she was out of the school curriculum. Rough and stupid teacher, and especially classmates, taunted her, but the “timid” girl was not so humble – she knew how to stand up for herself. Feeling as a stranger, the girl found her interest in books. The love of reading attracts conflict situations and unpredictable acquaintances – with people both good and evil. Stormy events in her childhood gave her new enemies and new friends.
Meanwhile, Nazism was growing stronger and the Second World War began. Liesel and Rudy became members of Hitler Youth. One day, the Nazi ritual of burning books shocked the girl. The crystal night was a new shock to her consciousness. A new acquaintance happened with Max, a Jewish young man, who was a son of a man, a brother-in-arms of Hans, her foster father, during the First World War. Max was hidden from Nazis in the house. Max also loved books. Her friend, little Rudy, almost quarreled with her, offended by her forced distrust and he was burning with jealousy. In the end, Liesel realized that she was able to trust him and she told him the secret of the Jew hiding in the basement.
In the adult world of her foster parents, everything was much more severe. The Nazis constantly intruded into the lives of ordinary citizens, who were far from politics. By a lucky chance, Hans managed to avoid an arrest, but another mobilization was announced and he fell under the call despite his age. Soon, Hans was wounded and heavily bruised. Perhaps it saved him from death at the front, but Liesel continued to lose the close people – Rudy was dead. Two years later, Liesel worked in the studio of Rudy’s father, who returned alive from the war. She found her friend Max, released from the concentration camp. Her soul mate was next to her at last, and the fear was already in the past. But what events await them after the war, after the tragic past?