Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Read This Book

While researching books for upcoming book club selections, I read a recommendation for this book. 

It's listed in the "teen" genre, but don't let that deter you.  This book is deep, it's spellbinding, and it speaks of a darker time in human history.  In my opinion, there are certain periods in history we wish we could gloss over.  The rise of Hitler and the Holocaust are one in a number of human tragedies that has played over the course of human civilization.  I don't know why the urge to forget is so strong - I suppose it's partly due to the pain of trying to understand.  I can't explain why a whole nation decided to follow a madman.  I don't know why the Jews were singled out and exterminated in such a grotesque fashion.  I do think, however, that we do a disservice and a dishonor [to the victims] by trying to forget. 

I think the more we remember and educate ourselves, the more likely we will recognize not to follow blindly. 

The Book Thief details part of the tragic life led by Liesel Meminger.  At the age of nine she is removed from her family for her own safety.  Her mother was a communist and Liesl is sent to live with a foster family to escape persecution from Hitler.  The course of the book weaves its way through the next four years of her life - her triumphs, her struggles, and her ultimate love for words.  This is one of the best books I've ever read. The narrator is Death - it sounds kind of strange, but it works, very well.  The book is fiction, but the author (a resident of Sydney, AUS) drew on information he gathered from his parents, who lived in Germany and Austria during World War II. 

While this is certainly not a Christian book (there are a few mild curses), I would describe the story as redeeming.  Further proof that while horrendous atrocities were befalling Jews and Germans alike, there were many brave souls and heroes - young and old, all German - quietly refusing to lay down and die. 


  1. Thanks, Kirsten! I'll definitely check it out. Have you read Elie Weisel's book Night? It answered a few of the 'why' questions I had. It was a gut-wrenching story, but I believe every person needs to read it. Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll add it to my library list. :o)

  2. I'll have to look this book up - thanks for the suggestion! I got through maybe half (it's about 900 pages) of a book called, The Kindly Ones. Very dark, descriptive, and raw. It's written from a particular German officer's perspective - and his job was to witness the genocide. A tough read.