I am Forever Changed Because of The Book Thief

A Vintage Nerd, Vintage Blog, The Book Thief, Period Films
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This past week I finally watched The Book Thief. I have been eagerly waiting since I heard about it and being patient has paid off.

Based on the novel The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, it tells the story of a young girl named Liesel who is sent to live with foster parents named Hans and Rosa. On the way over to these foster parents Liesel's little brother dies. It is from that point on that a mysteries character that we know as death appears and is intrigued by Liesel. He follows her throughout her life in particular to the time spent before, during, and shortly after World War II.

Did I just say death is a character in this story? Death narrates Liesel's journey and as death puts it, "no one can escape him".

During her time in a small German town on a street called Himmel (Heaven Street) she mets a boy named Rudy who becomes her best friend and confidant and learns how to read. Still yearning for her mother and brother, in time she learns to embrace Hans and Rosa as her parents. Her hunger for reading grows as well and through a unlikely friend named IIsa who allows Liesel to read books from her personal library.

Then comes a knock on the door and a young man named Max enters the lives of Hans, Rosa, and Liesel. Hans made a promise to help Max's family if they ever needed any because his father (Max's) sacrificed his life to save Hans in WWI. Max is hiding from the Gestapo because he is Jewish. The family hide him and in time Liesel learns the true meaning of Nazism and Hilter all the while developing a special bond with Max.

The rest of the story continues until at the end you hear from death again, narrating more about Liesel's life. I hate to leave you hanging on what happens next but I want to encourage you to see the film or even to read the book. You will not regret it.

I am forever changed because of The Book Thief. I watched it again the very next day and it was still as powerful as it was the first time. I was just in awe of the personal insight and knowledge I gained inside of myself and learning this story.

**Spoiler Alert-Do not read further if you would not like to know the deeper details of the film**

Although it is a work of fiction it is based on truth and the realities of WWII. And with the horrors of war there comes moments of clarity and peace. Although I have never experienced living life the way that Liesel did or experiencing such a fierce and violent war on humanity in my own front door, I did gain a deeper insight on what it could have been like.

I have never seen a film from the view point of Germans from a small town. It was refreshing to witness, While you are watching the film it is almost like you are watching the lives of real people living in real time. That's how realistic it all was.

You see death happen to various important characters especially during the bombing of Himmel Street but what blew me away was that I found myself being walked through the deaths of these people by death himself. So I didn't weep for these characters because death showed me how easily we go and how easily a person's life can be changed. There is no stopping it and no one can hid from it. As death says, "everybody has to go sometime".

It caught me by surprise how little tears I did cry (although I did cry). Liesel suffered so many personal losses of so many people she loved dearly in the span of about four years or so and despite losing just about everything she lived a long and fruitful life. At the end death shows us that Liesel lived until she was 90 and had three children and a slew of grandchildren. She remained friends with Max their whole lives, kept a dear friendship with IIsa, and surrounded herself with the memories of those who passed before her. Irregardless of that, she did not live in the past but fully lived life in the present.

It is rare to watch a story unfold whether on film or in a book where you get to have an ending. A proper ending. And with this story you really do. It was refreshing to hear the viewpoint of death and what death might say if he could speak. And I am changed because I was reminded that no matter what is taken away from us that the universe can be kind and give back to us just as much or more. I was also reminded that no matter how long you know and love someone that the important thing is to keep your heart open and love and be loved.

And finally I was reminded that words contain life and power. That when we wield them towards good they can shape and alter a person's life for the better and that being true if the words are not good (example-mein kampf by A. Hitler).

I am forever changed. And for that I am grateful.

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  1. I cannot tell you how much my sister has been waiting for this, and of course me too! I sort of skimmed this because I have neither read the book or read any reviews and want to avoid spoilers. I don't know if this will sound strange, but I do love Holocaust films or films about Nazi Germany and occupation. I find that if we continue to educate ourselves about the horrors of the past we can continue to fight that they never happen again. And the Holocaust and WWII has to be one of the most horrific part of the 20th century.

  2. Thank you very much for the spoiler alert warning, I skipped over things after that, as I've not yet watched it myself and truly want to. It's a powerful, poignant and immensely wonderful thing when a movie speaks to you so deeply. I can clearly remember every one I've seen that had the same effect on me and am very grateful for each of them.

    ♥ Jessica

  3. I just looked at the photos, because I have not yet watched the film. But, I've been dying to, and this makes me want to watch it even more.

  4. I read the book years ago, looking forward to seeing the film :)

  5. I cried so hard when I read the book, I was afraid to see the movie! But after your post I went ahead and rented it and I'm so glad I did. It was completely faithful to the story, even in an edited form.
    Thanks so much for talking me into it - this DVD will be in my collection for sure!

  6. I'm so glad to hear so many of your enjoyed this post. I hope you feel as moved and as inspired as I was and still am. Thank you!!! xox

  7. I've bookmarked this to come back to after I've read the book (on my nightstand in a pile) and seen the movie.


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