Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Book Thief by Mark Zusak

As I am reading The Book Thief by Mark Zusak, I have been underlining and flagging the story to keep track of powerful quotes and moments that stood out to me. However, I have had to really determine whether or not something is worth marking because I am finding that my book is becoming covered in ink and Post-it notes. It is difficult to be selective, however, since the book is filled with such rich imagery that truly enhances the reading experiences. Since I am a person who has trouble creating detailed visions of what I read, I found this imagery to also help me picture the setting, characters, and scenes in the story. For example, on page six Zusak sets the scene by saying, "It felt as though the whole globe was dressed in snow. Like it had pulled it on, the way you pull on a sweater. Next to the train line, foot-prints were sunken to their shins. Trees wore blankets of ice." Through this imagery, I was able to not only see the winter wonderland that had been painted for me, but I found myself almost feeling cold. I never knew that words could have such power.

The power of Zusak's imagery and words made me ask myself,  "how could this book have possibly been adapted into a movie?" I don't think that the movie could begin to capture the images that Zusak has led me to create in my head. Furthermore, I fear that if I watch the movie, that the amazing images that I have generated in my head will be completely destroyed or replaced. 

Have any of you seen the movie? How do you think it compares to the book? Is it worth the risk to watch?


  1. Christina, I agree with you 100%. I sat down to start re-reading the book this weekend and my husband had left the TV on HBO. The movie, The Book Thief, was on and I immediately turned it off.

    I am sure it is a fine movie, but I do not want to give up the imagery I have in my head. Maybe if it was made by less mainstream director -like Guillermo Del Toro (who directed Pan's Labyrinth) -- it would better match how I envisioned this story playing out in my mind.

  2. Also, since you shared a line you found particularly drenched in imagery, I thought I'd share one of my favorites with you:

    For now, Rudy and Liesel made their way onto Himmel Street in the rain. He was the crazy one who had painted himself in black and defeated the world.
    She was the book thief without the words.
    Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain. (p. 80)

    I love imagery here, the subtext, and the warning in these lines.

  3. Christina,
    I initially felt the same as you! Markus Zusak's words created such powerful imagery in my mind, that I did not want a poor film adaption to ruin it. Yet, I caved in last night and watched the movie. It was AMAZING. I would definitely recommend watching it. Now the movie obviously did leave out portions of the book, but overall I was completely satisfied with it. It was also particularly helpful watching the movie considering the fact that a lot of the German words they used in the book tripped me up in terms of pronunciation! Watching the movie allowed me to hear these words. It was also interesting to hear Death's role in the movie. The concept is just as chilling for me as when I read the book. I can completely understand your hesitation, as I felt the same way, but don't let that stop you. I would highly recommend the movie! :)