Spoiler Warning

Book reviews and discussions may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The official SRBC discussion of The Book Thief

Here we go gize!

A question to start us off:

Death states, “I’m always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both.” (p. 491) What is ugly and beautiful about Liesel, Rosa and Hans Hubermann, Max Vandenburg, Rudy Steiner, and Mrs. Hermann? Why is Death haunted by humans?

194 comments:

eekareek said...

I didn't finish the book. Am I allowed in here?

Landee said...

::putting hands to mouth:: Hollah!

Landee said...

You're allowed. How far did you get?

eekareek said...

Does that mean no?

eekareek said...

Ummmm like page 150...

eekareek said...

No one give away anything!

StandsMom said...

Whoa! That is a way big loaded question. I love it...just teasing of course.

Are we being graded?

eekareek said...

Errrr...

Landee said...

Oh man, that question is hard. What's the next one?

Jenny ESP said...

I just got my review up! Sorry! Go read, if you wanna know what I thought.

StandsMom said...

I think Rosa is the easiest for describing her ugly and her beautiful. Very obvious. Mean, bossy, potty mouth. Compassionate, for taking in Liesel and especially Max.

Landee said...

K, brb.

StandsMom said...

Oh, btw, Hey Hey! Y'all.

Jenny ESP said...

there is nothing ugly about rudy, thats for sure

Memzy said...

lemme go read Jespy's brb

Landee said...

Where is our fearless leader?

Landee said...

Oops. There she is. ::looking sheepish::

eekareek said...

I pictured Hans and Rosa looking like the old couple from Babe. Did anyone else think that too?

eekareek said...

Also, I kept picturing death from the family guy as the narrator. Norm McDonald is the voice of Death on Family Guy so that is the voice I used while reading this book.

Memzy said...

loved the review Jespy!!

It's true how the hope wins out in the end. no matter how tragic everything was

Jenny ESP said...

Yes, I see the old people from babe. That'll do pig.

eekareek said...

It made it funner.

Memzy said...

the Babe guy is perfect for Hans!

eekareek said...

That'll do, Leslie

Amanda said...

Hi guys,
I just got home and I need to get to kids to bed which takes at least an hour. I am so sad I won't be able to be a part of the discussion tonight. I've been looking forward to it all month. I haven't written my review yet either, but as soon as I do, I'll post it.
Amanda

PS This book is my new fave.

Jenny ESP said...

For some reason, I didn't feel depressed at the end of this book. Although it was painful to read at times. It felt hopeful.

Memzy said...

Amanda so glad its a fave! Looking forward to your review

eekareek said...

Whoa. I haven't finished it yet. Should I just go and read right now?

StandsMom said...

Oh absolutely Hans is Babe's..uh..man? Owner? Loved him dancing to make Babe feel better.

eekareek said...

I don't want anything ruined.

Memzy said...

I totally agree Jenny. It's like, through all that tragedy, there can still be hope in the world. There can still be a girl bringing a crossword puzzle or a handful of snow. There can still be a Papa painting peoples shutters black for half a cigarette.

Jenny ESP said...

Glad you loved it, Amanda. Sorry you'll miss the discush! Maybe we'll still be here in an hour. You never know.

Memzy said...

And I personally LOVED the figurative language in the book. It moved me.

Landee said...

I wasn't depressed either. I just loved a story in which all Germans weren't cold hearted saukerls.

And did she marry Max & did they grow old together?? That's how I imagined it.

Memzy said...

I would like to personally thank Landee for being her at the discush since I was UNfashonably late to hers last month.

StandsMom said...

Ewww. Liesel marry Max? That's creepy. He's WAY to old for her.

Jenny ESP said...

Death kind of tells you what happens at the end early on. How far did you read?

Landee said...

I don't get revenge Memzy. I forgive. Mostly cuz conference told me to today.

Memzy said...

That was my next question!!

Do Max and Liesel end up together? (I think they did, because... "In her final visions, she saw her three children, her grandchildren, her husband, and the long list of lives that merged with hers. Among them, lit like lanterns, were Hans and Rosa Hubermann, her brother, and the boy whose hair remained the color of lemons forever." If Max hadn't already been mentioned (her husband?), she would have mentioned him as one of the lives lit like lanterns.)

Landee said...

No way! He was NOT too old for her. I want them married. And old together. The. End.

Jenny ESP said...

I, too, thought they got married. Actually, it was Flem who put the idea in my head.

Landee said...

My thoughts exactly Memz. Why would he not have been mentioned there.

eekareek said...

Crap! I don't even know who Max is.

Memzy said...

Speaking of Flem, where is she? Text her Landee

StandsMom said...

Ok ok wait. Then tell me how old she is and how old he is (in the book). Maybe I'm confusing starved, living in a basement, tired and worn out with old.

Markie23 said...

Was this the same author that wrote The Forest of Hands and Teeth?

Landee said...

She was about 14 when they saw eachother in the street. I'm thinking he was mid-20s at the latest. 10 years? No biggie.

Landee said...

:;texting flem::

Jenny ESP said...

At the end, when Death talks about L growing old and dying, she sees everybody she knew in life (listed name by name), and Max isn't named. It just says "her husband", which would imply that her husband was Max. Cuz why wouldn't such an important person in her life be there?

StandsMom said...

Why on earth do I picture her like 9 years old and him like 40?

Memzy said...

Yeah, she definitely got together with him. And they framed "The Standover Man" and put it in their family room.

Memzy said...

I love how connected Death is to her.

Jenny ESP said...

Opps, I just restated Memz. Sorry!

Landee said...

I dunno Stands. You're gonna have to figure that out on your own. Max was Papa's friend's son. Papa isn't crazy old...maybe 40s. So his son couldn't be crazy old. And it specifically says Liesel is 14 in the street scene.

Jenny ESP said...

Markie, were you not at all moved by this book? I'm surprised you didn't like it.

Memzy said...

New question:

Rosa is described as "her face was decorated with constant fury." What made Rosa so angry?

Markie23 said...

I was moved to anger.

Jenny ESP said...

They weren't that far apart in age. Were talking six, seven years tops. No biggie.

StandsMom said...

The months since I've read it have warped the things I envision from the book. I guess.

Memzy said...

I actually liked Rosa a lot. Even thru her B-ness I could tell she had that soft inside.

Landee said...

Flem says (and I quote) "Uh it's Easter and we have company. Trying to get rid of SIL."

I told her to pretend she needed to poo and take her laptop into the bathroom.

She then said "Good idea let me try."

So we'll see I guess...

Landee said...

Anger at the Fuher or the writer?

Jenny ESP said...

Another question: What made Markie so angry?

StandsMom said...

My mom was like Rosa when I was growing up. I'm gonna vote for OCD and really tired?

Memzy said...

And I LOVED the visions Max had of boxing Hitler

Jenny ESP said...

Markie's face was decorated with constant fury.

Jenny ESP said...

I loved Rosa. She was multifaceted. Those are some of my fave characters. Like Prof. Snape.

Landee said...

Markie... were you kept in a basement for an extended period of time growing up? I'm wondering if these emotions this book brought up for you are raw and tough to deal with?

StandsMom said...

If my mom had known the words saukerl and schaumensce (sp?) she woulda been saying them all the time.

Maybe she was portrayed that way to make the fact that they brought Max in more of a big deal. To like, highlight what a big deal it really was. I never expected Rosa to roll with it, but she did.

Jenny ESP said...

Max was a fighter who couldn't fight. So he had to shake his words instead.

Jenny ESP said...

I really loved the descriptions in this book. It was poetic 'n stuff.

Landee said...

How friggin nervous were you when they came to check the basement to see if it could be a bomb shelter???!!!???? I almost crapped myself.

Memzy said...

And how Max was holding those rusty scissors and then said "I wasn't going to use them" when the Hubermann's pulled back the sheet.

Jenny ESP said...

My bones were shaking like itchy floorboards!!

Markie23 said...

The writing I got used to. I get the concept that death sees and describes things differently. Honestly it was a fine line between literary genius and indulgent nonsense. After a while I even began to enjoy the writing. The cardinal sin of this book to me was that everyone but Liesel and Max died. Srsly, was that necessary? Did it add to your enjoyment of the book? Would you have liked Oliver Twist better if his new found family died of the black plague at the end? Would Jane Eyre have been a better book if Mr. Rochester died in the fire, and her new relatives were eaten by wolves?

Memzy said...

Jenny, where's your phone btw? No reason

Jenny ESP said...

Did you cry at all while reading this Markie? Tears of anger? Sadness? Hope?

StandsMom said...

Awww. Markie, you're mourning the loss of her family. That's so awesome.

Jenny ESP said...

It's frozen, apparently. Resetting...

Memzy said...

That's why the book was so.....realistic. Not all things in life end happily ever after. But Liesel found a way to move on and still find good and hope in the world.

Landee said...

It was horrific...the part where everyone dies...but quite frankly I'm surprised anyone survived that war. I was just happy Max did.

Jenny ESP said...

People died, Markie. Lots. That's why they call it a holocaust.

StandsMom said...

I don't know how long I'm gonna be here. I gotta long drive tomorrow and I want to get out of here early. Like 7 or something.

Memzy said...

Would the story of that little Haitan kid who lost every member of their family been indulgent nonsense? I think not. Life happens. Crap happens. The holocaust happened. The end.

Yet.......hope.

StandsMom said...

P.S. Entirely OFF subject, but Jespy...I followed the advice of one of your reviews and I heart Captain Peter Blood. Mmmmhmmm.

Flem said...

::looking around:: helllooo???

Landee said...

No pirate talk!!!! This is war torn Germany here fhs!

Memzy said...

Yay!! Flem!!

Flem said...

fyi holocaust means burnt offering which is why the Jews don't use it...

Landee said...

Are you in the bathroom, Flemmy?

StandsMom said...

Just sayin'

Landee said...

Did you do a review Flem?

Flem said...

No, started using the computer in front of company and they got the hint and left.

Memzy said...

k new question:

Discuss why Liesel tells Mr. Steiner that she kissed Rudy’s dead body.

Memzy said...

Flem go read the comments/reviews and come back

Flem said...

Doing review, brb.

Jenny ESP said...

I appreciated how Death prepared us for what was about to happen. Even though it was still so terribly sad. No, not Rudy! Anyone but Rudy.

(OMG, Peter Blood!!! I love him sooooo much!!)

Landee said...

I don't know why she said that. Maybe so he'd know he was loved.

StandsMom said...

Maybe she just wanted to make sure Mr. Steiner knew that she loved Rudy that much.

Jenny ESP said...

Refresh my memory Memz. What's the significance you're getting at?

Landee said...

I'd always go back to the beginning of a chapter after I was done and see what Death had told me already. You know, like what he meant by certain things that I didn't get going into it. Love Death.

Memzy said...

I don't know, it was just one of the question to discuss as book club I found on the interweb.

StandsMom said...

Where is everyone?

Memzy said...

I love how Death thought the carrying of a scythe was humorous

Landee said...

I love everything Death says. His side notes about people are the best. Funny and touching.

Jenny ESP said...

I loved the fact that Death knew how special Rudy was, and that he thought Rudy's death was particularly tragic. It made me think about all the special people who died during that war, and what they could have contributed to humanity. So sad.

Memzy said...

totally agree Landee

A SMALL QUESTION AND ITS ANSWER

And who do you think cleaned the spit off the door each night?
Yes--you got it.

Landee said...

Was there significance to Rudy being obsessed with Jessie Owens? Like, that he wasn't a white supremacist type?

Memzy said...

I also agree Jenny. I loved the fact that Death was sad about all these people dying. Especially certain ones.

StandsMom said...

Oh! I forgot about the spit!

Flem said...

I love death too. See my review if you like.

Markie23 said...

I was angry at this book for the same reasons I was angry after reading Forest of Hands and Teeth. It had SO much promise. There was the promise of a happy life for a little girl that lost her father, mother, and watched her little brother die in front of her eyes. There was the promise of a safe harbor and freedom for a Jew, and there was the promise of a community being saved from the ravages of war, and life under an evil dictator. Instead there was only more death, and depression. The little girl loses yet another family, the Jew gets recaptured, beaten, and marched to a concentration camp, and the entire community gets blown up.
Anger the color of burnt toast!a

Jenny ESP said...

confused...

Memzy said...

::off to read Flem's review::

Flem said...

My English teachers always tell me that if a book makes you feel, it was well done.

I hate John Steinbeck for the Pearl. But I hear that evoking anger is haard to do.

Besides, all good books wreck a promise. See Romeo and Juliet.

Jenny ESP said...

Not fair, Markie. You know Max survived in the end, against all odds. When you stack your deck with weak arguement, you diminish the whole deck.<--said like Death.

Memzy said...

Yay for Flem's review! One question tho:

Why was the Mayor's wife one of your fave characters? I felt like I could never quite pin down my emotions towards her. Sometimes I loved that she did those things for Liesel and sometims I was so pizzed she didn't do more.

StandsMom said...

We have to pass through the bitter in order to taste the sweet, dear Markie.

Jenny ESP said...

And Death never promised a happy ending. In fact, he promised a tragic ending. The small bit of hope at the end was a pleasant surprise.

Memzy said...

And I'm sure that Hans and Rosa would have been so happy to know that Max and Liesel survived and ended up together. The happy ending.

Flem said...

I disagree Markie. How many books have you actually read about WWII? This is pretty unusual. If you want heavy stuff, try Primo Levi or that one guy... Elie Weisel.

That stuff sux. This was like, a warm, lovely version of the war.

Landee said...

Papa in the chair every night!!!

The mayor's wife!!!!

Thank you Flem, for I had forgotten.

Memzy said...

GP Jenny!

Memzy said...

I've read Levi and Weisel. Both HEAVY.

Neither had a girl bringing a gift of a cloud to a sick Jew.

Jenny ESP said...

Yes, explains the Mayor's wife. I liked her OK, but I didn't love love love her the way I loved loved loved so many of the other characters.

Landee said...

The mayor's wife did what she could. She had some "issues" I'm thinking. Very complex lady, that one. I appreciated her for what she did, rather than be angry for what she didn't do.

Markie23 said...

There was no sweet. So he survived. So what. There was no triumph in his survival to me. He's just another one of hundreds of Jews who survived the death camps. I guess I just can't imagine ever being the same after an experience like that, and we don't have enough information to conclude that he lived a happy life afterwards. I would have been a much better story in my book, if they had managed to keep him safe until the war was over - and if everyone else didn't die.

Landee said...

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa? ::staring at Markie wide eyed::

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa???

Flem said...

Mayor's wife! Are you kidding? She was a tragic, sad little lady who had no capacity to give much of anything yet she opened up a world to Liesl.

The books! What a gift! From a lady whose parents dropped her off at the library in the summers, I know the value of perusing new books.

She was like a crazy sad depressed woman who had ONE gift left in her soul and she gave it to Liesl. That is all she could give and you know she died remembering that one good deed she performed.

Memzy said...

I disagree Markie. I feel like Liesel and Max's life represent beauty in the wake of brutality. Why shouldn't we imagine that they had a happy life afterwards? I sure did.

StandsMom said...

I've got the smallest violin the world here Markie and it's playing just for you.

Memzy said...

K Flem I like it. I am now solidly in the "like a lot" category for Mayor's wife.

Markie23 said...

The war was real, but this story was FICTIONAL. He didn't have to kill everyone. He told us about other cities getting destroyed, he didn't have to destroy this city, that had Rudy, and Liesel, and Max, and Hans, and Rosa, and the Mayors wife. Yes, I cared about them. Like a LOT. That is why I am angry. Anger like the color of ponderosa pine.

Jenny ESP said...

But he proved to be not-your-average Jew in the basement. It doesn't follow his character to assume that he wallowed in misery for the rest of his life. It makes more sense that he became a word shaker. And he'll be a much more powerful word shaker for having gone through some of the trials he went through. ie Weisel.

Memzy said...

In fact try this on:

p549
Death speaking: "I have seen a great many things in this world. I attend the greatest disasters and work for the greatest villains. But then there are other moments.....that I allow to distract me as I work...and I make sure to remember them as I go about my work. The book thief is one such story"

StandsMom said...

"You mocked my pain once! Never do it again!"

Sorry Markie, for picking on you. I get it. It was kinda sucky. I'm enough months removed from the reading that I've forgotten some of that stuff. I kinda wanted Rudy and Liesel to end up together. Forever and stuff.

Jenny ESP said...

I see, about the Mayor's wife. She was interesting, yes. But she doesn't make my top favorite characters. Just cuz.

Memzy said...

Of all that Death sees, millions of year I'm guessing, he remember THOSE stories. Just because of the hope that they bring him.

Landee said...

I'll tell you what angered me... looking up Mark Zusak and seeing he was born in 1975. Same year as me. So he's my age and he has written this amazing and magical book.

And what have I written?

Half of a half of GITYD.

Jenny ESP said...

I was so depressed about Rudy dying. It was so hard! I wanted it to be different. But that's not what the story was about. It was about these great people being taken from the Earth to soon, and it makes you think about all the IRL great people that are taken too soon. He can write another book later where all the people live. In fact, he has. I've read them, and they were no where near as good as the Book Thief.

Memzy said...

so what do you gize think of a movie?

Markie23 said...

I bet they change the ending for the movie. Hollywood execs are not gonna pitch a film to mass audiences where everyone gets blown up in the end.

Jenny ESP said...

Lollerz @ Landee

Flem said...

Markie why you so bitter? I didn't peg you for a happy ending type...

But I was disappointed that people didn't all survive too, I just felt that the book was good anyway.

If they would have all survived I think I would have loved the book just as much but my heart wouldn't have hurt and it would be less memorable, you know?

Memzy said...

You mean kinda like Saving Private Ryan?

Landee said...

I think Adrian Brody is a perfect Max.

Jenny ESP said...

That's not the real trailer, right? Cuz I recognized those clips from The Pianist.

Jenny ESP said...

They'll probably have an alternative ending on the DVD for people like Markie.

Memzy said...

No I don't think it's the real trailer. But what would you think of a movie being made?

Flem said...

He is Australian and has one kid.

You have three kids.

That still makes your accomplishment superior in my book.

Markie23 said...

I guess I'm old school. I like my good guys good, my bad guys bad, and I like it when the good guy wins in the end - and gets the girl.

Memzy said...

Did they do an alternative ending for Saving Private Ryan? Cuz I'm pretty sure all the characters died in the end accept Private Ryan

Markie23 said...

Rudy never even got his kiss - while alive at least.

Jenny ESP said...

Agree with what Flem said. Remember how much Breaking Dawn sucked bc no one died in the end? It was all too perfect and fake. Death makes life seem so much more precious.

StandsMom said...

Oh, The Pianist was a painful movie to watch. Just gut wrenching.

Markie23 said...

Never say Private Ryan - now I know why.

Landee said...

You don't consider Max a good guy markie???

Markie23 said...

Ooops, I meant never SAW Private Ryan.

StandsMom said...

K. I gotta call it. Loved chatting with you all. Have a great night and I'm excited for April's book.

Jenny ESP said...

See, I don't like my good guys all good and my bad guys all bad. I love it when a bad guy surprises me by doing something outstanding. (See Prof. Snape)

Jenny ESP said...

Night Stand! Wait. Nightstand. Hahah!

Memzy said...

I agree Jenny. Cuz its hardly true that anyone is ALL of something. There's good and bad in all of us.

Jenny ESP said...

Max was a good guy who won in the end and got the girl. Let's not rewrite the book. It's unnecessary.

Landee said...

See ya on the flip side Stands.

Jenny ESP said...

Yeah, it's all about depth.

Markie23 said...

OK, I need to take my bitter angry self to bed. I'm glad you all loved the book, and I'm glad it was selected. I honestly do see the merit in it, and how you all could love it. Maybe my problem was loving it too much; so much that I hated it, you know? Hate like the color of liverwurst on rye.

Jenny ESP said...

Smeyer should have killed Alice.

Flem said...

I like bad guys doing good too Jespy!!

One dimensional characters= lame. Like Titanic bad guy.

Jenny ESP said...

And Renesme.

Jenny ESP said...

K, night Mark. So sad you didn't love it.

Memzy said...

K, bye Markie and Stands!! Thanks for reading the book and coming to discuss.

Landee said...

G'night Markie. You're a colorful rainbow of disagreement. You made it fun tonight. Fun like the color of bubblegum and cotton candy.

Memzy said...

Who is in charge next month btw?

Markie23 said...

P.S. Harry Potter would have been so much better if everyone died in the end, except for Ron Weesley, and Luna Lovegood.

Landee said...

Yeah, who's picking next month?

Flem said...

I have a book selected for next month.

Instead of casting pearl before swine, I have decided to select a new book I haven't read.

But I can't put it down now so it might end up becoming a new fave.

Unless the author peters out.

Memzy said...

hmmmm you prolly should left that "ps" out Markie.

Landee said...

Ooooooh! When are you announcing Flem?

Jenny ESP said...

Markie, have you ever tried reading a choose your own adventure novel? You would love!

Jenny ESP said...

Oh wow! A new favorite? Those are big words. Word shaker!

Markie23 said...

I heard that Jenny!

Jenny ESP said...

Can't wait for that announcement. The last few books have been ones I already read, so I'm kinda excited to have a new reading assignment.

Flem said...

I will announce tomorrow after I have finished this next very important chapter so I can decide to hype it or prepare you for suckage.

Thanks to Amazon for recommending it to me tho.

Flem said...

K I am off to read.

Thanks Memzy, I am going to reread this one because it is truly one of my faves.

Night all!

Memzy said...

K, can't wait Flem!! Gnight to everyone.

Landee said...

K, peace out peeps. I'm excited to hear Flemmy's announcement!

Hot Pants said...

K, I totally forgot about tonight!!! It must have been all the sugar and partying. Why does only Flem get a reminder text and nobody even notices I haven't arrived? ROOOOOOOD! Goodnight.

Jenny ESP said...

Thanks Memzy! Great pick, and great job leading the discush. One of my faves. Glad we had someone to give us a different perspective too, Markie. Made it more interesting. See ya later, Word Shakers.

PS. My friend Allyoop read this month's book too and loved it with all her heart. Just thought I'd add her opinion since she's not much of blogger-type person.

Jenny ESP said...

You said you didn't read it, HP! Otherwise I would have texted you.

Hot Pants said...

I said I hadn't finished it. And that was last week.

Jenny ESP said...

Huh? You said you didn't read it at all, and that you weren't going to have time to read it. Are you saying now that you did read it?

Hot Pants said...

I told you I started it like a year ago. I just said I was having a hard time getting into it. I read it. I didn't like it.

Jenny ESP said...

OK, HP. I'm sorry. You never told me you ended up reading the book. If I had known, I would have wondered where you were last night and sent you a text. Most of us knew Flem read the book, and that's the reason her absence was noticed. I'd love to hear what you didn't like about the book, so post a review. Asap.

Landee said...

Dear HP, I too am sorry for I am the one who actually texted Flem. This means obviously my phone was out, willing and able and yet I neglected to punch in H-O-T-P-A-N-T-S and text you as well. I would enjoy a review from you, however, so if you could get right on that that would be great. Mmmkay? Mmkay.