I just finished The Book Thief.
Having read a handful of ordinary readers’ critiques, I am compelled to reject every one of them that in some way denies the greatness of this voice.
Oh, the voice. It is the voice I have not heard since Vonnegut and Slaughterhouse Five. immensely grave, with a hefty amount of sardonic wisdom that falls like jewels through the night. It is the voice of sheer originality – the fearlessness of nonconformity. This is no book of wonder and awe. This is a simple story that, in the end, sheds light on the human condition – love, hate, war, peace, crime, punishment, loyalty, and fear.
The story of Liesel, her Papa and Mama, Max, Rudy, and all the incidental characters is simple, yet spellbinding. The human condition is explored in a thousand different ways. The depth and breadth of the human soul is exposed – carefully, so that only those with silver eyes can see it.
I think I am a better person for reading this story. Certainly, it is my intention to be so, before the narrator comes to scoop me into his arms. The great equalizer suffers too.
I will return to this book over and over again, and each time, I will see a different sight.
I will buy 10 copies, just in case it ever goes out of print.
As far as my rating scale goes – 10 hearts – my highest rating. Not because I loved the book (which I surely did), but because it touched my heart in a way that very few books can.