My wife begged me for months to read Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, but I have this thing about books that look they will take forever to read that makes me think that…they will take forever to read.
But I loved it. She was right (again).
And I will tell you right now that you will not get the full effect of this story from the movie alone. The movie is a movie, but the book is an experience.
One advantage the film version has is the cinematography, which is beautiful. Also, John Williams wrote the music, so you can pretend the Nazis are stormtroopers if you want to liven things up a bit.
Aside from one scene where Jews are being dragged into the street, there really isn’t much violence at all. And not to complain or anything, but I feel like the guy who plays Max looks less like a Jew from Germany and more like a Presbyterian from Wyoming.
None of the cast are household names, but Hans Hubermann is played by Geoffrey Rush, who is probably best known as Barbossa in those exponentially multiplying Pirates of the Caribbean movies that refuse to allow us to move on with the rest of our lives.
OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: I’ve never stolen books, though I often take far more napkins than are necessary when I go to fast-food restaurants. Am I sorry? No. Do I feel even a little bit guilty? No. Will I have an impeccably clean chin for decades after the world’s napkin supply runs out? Definitely.
The Book Thief is a story about “word shakers.” The author gives us a rather good description of this group:
“The best word shakers were the ones who understand the true power of words. They were the ones who could climb the highest. One such word shaker was a small, skinny girl. She was renowned as the best word shaker of her region because she knew how powerless a person could be without words.”
Words are very powerful. That’s why I started this blog. (I mean, I’ve always been good at shaking my hips, but words take an entirely different muscle.)
Whether words foster hope and wisdom like Liesel or destruction and war like Hitler, they should be mastered by all of us — not only so we can discern truth from non-truth, but so that we ourselves can wield words for good, as did the ultimate Word Shaker.
“And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith.” — Doctrine & Covenants 109:7