Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Review - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

by Markus Zusak

I really like reading books before watching the film adaptation. I like to be able to form ideas about situations and characters in my head first before being shown on a screen. I have also found that some books are absolutely murdered when turned into a film so I like to discover them in the way the author intended first. I hadn't heard much about this book before, I'd heard the title but I knew nothing of the story. When I heard that it was being turned into a film I looked it up on Amazon, read the blurb and wondered why the hell I hadn't read it yet. So I bought it. I read it. I LOVED it.

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.
It's a small story, about:
a girl
an accordionist
some fanatical Germans
a Jewish fist fighter
and quite a lot of thievery.

I wouldn't say that I enjoy reading books about the Holocaust and World War II but I do find them interesting and I have read quite a few, fiction and non-fiction, this one is so different! At first I didn't like that the story is narrated by death. I thought that it was quite impersonal and the writing style took a little while to get used to. After a couple of chapters however, I was hooked. It was also a bit annoying that you knew many of the main storylines, and deaths, in advance. I think that it took some of the shock factor away from the book but it was still brilliant.

The characters, the non-Nazi ones, are loveable and really burrow into your heart. I cared about each and every one of them. Liesel was sweet and caring, Rudy was chilvalrous and daring, Papa was everything a papa should be, I loved mama's brash exterior and the fact that she loved her family so much, Max was poetic and scared. I loved them.

I liked the fact that there were no 'Hollywood' moments. There were a few times I expected something to happen in a certain way, the predictable, happily ever after way, but it didn't. I felt like it represented real life pretty accurately. Lives were saved by pure coincidence and lives were taken too. I don't want to say too much because I don't want to ruin such a wonderful book for someone who hasn't read it yet.

I was in the hairdressers when I finished the book. I knew that I was going to need a good cry at the end of it and that I should stop reading but I just couldn't. I also couldn't let all my emotions out whilst having a wash, cut and blowdry without risking looking like a totally crazy person. So I held them all in, I only let a tear or two escape as I read one of the most distressing endings to a book ever. I held it in all the way home and then I lay on my bed, re-read the last chapter and had a bloody good cry. God, that makes me sound pretty mental. But the book was just so emotive! And good!

I am so looking forward to seeing the film now, I hope that it does the book justice and they don't change it too much! If you haven't read it yet I would definitely recommend it. It's one of the best books I've ever read and it will be one of those books that I will read many more times. Five stars (5*).

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Inspiration - 2014 Blogger Challenge #1

This year I'm taking part in the 2014 Blogger Challenge hosted by Gaby at Another Girly Blog. This is the first post and the subject is inspiration. The idea is that instead of writing a resolutions post we should post a picture which will inspire us throughout the year.

I am really going to try to keep this quote in my mind this year. There are so many things which I want to do and I keep putting them off, thinking that I'll see what happens and waiting for other people to make decisions which will impact my life. I am saying 'no more'. I am going to get up off my arse and go and grab the world instead of waiting for it to come to me. I need to make plans, do research, make lists, but I need to actually follow through with them for once. I need to go and do the things I plan, and do them rather than waiting. If I don't fulfill some of my dreams now then I may never get to and that would be a major regret.

So here's to 2014, to travelling, writing, education, experiences, doing more of everything. I hope it's going to be a good year for you all.