I just finished The Book Thief and I can't stop crying.
Goddamn you, Zusak.
I mean, why, WHY, torment me with telling me the tragic ending before it's even over? To soften the blow? I don't know. But it still broke my heart, maybe even more, because I knew it was coming, and I couldn't bear it. How can a YA book end so unhappily? How can someone lose so much and yet continue to lose more?
Because it's war. Because this is what happens. Because this war in particular caused so many unhappy endings.
I liked this book a lot. I did find the prose gimmicky at times, but if you can get me bawling by the end, I'll forgive all your trespasses.
[I don't know if I can pass this book along to my 14 year old sister though. I don't know. My heart is breaking, and hers might just shatter into a million pieces.]
I liked that it took a new perspective on the war. That it showed how being a German in Nazi Germany could be like. Beyond the focuses we often see in other books, this brought something new and fresh. Not to mention, narrated by Death himself. Sometimes I found the metaphors too much, too vague, not things I could hold on to. But again, I ran with it. I don't mind the abstract. I liked the lyrical. And at times, this was indeed very lyrical.
I want to say more, but the ending just killed me. How incredibly heartbreaking. To have to say all you left unsaid for when it's too late. To witness the loss of everything dear to you.
By the way: "There would be punishment and pain, and there would be happiness, too. That was writing." (pg. 525)
Also: I liked the theme of words. How words are simultaneously beautiful and dangerous. How they can be powerful weapons, or a tool of healing. The double-edged sword. Seduction and lies vs. truth and beauty. Because that's what we as writers constantly think of, no? Words are malleable and its power is in its wielder.
I don't know what else to say. I probably have thoughts on craft, etc, but it's all been swept from my mind because I'm so numb with sadness.