An Insomniacs Detour: “The Book Thief”

It was no surprise that I had a little visit from my friend, Insomnia, last night. We are in the midst of a very busy week. School started for my son and I on Tuesday. We also celebrate two birthdays this week. It is a time of transition and that is the time my friend often visits. I’ve written about this a number of times before.

But, when I awoke at 3:18 a.m. I wasn’t worried about anything. I was comfortable. It wasn’t too hot. I had not had any wine. (Which can interfere with my sleep if I indulge in a glass after the dinner hour.) My birthday preparations were complete and the week has been proceeding nicely. I just couldn’t sleep. It happens. By 4:00 a.m. I had gotten out of bed due to not wanting to disturb my husband. I made some decaffeinated tea and set about finishing a book I’ve been reading. It is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2005).  The last few chapters mesmerized me until I could no longer keep by eyes open. The chimes on the clock told me it was quarter past five.  I finally finished it after I awoke for good.

If you haven’t read this book, I’d highly recommend it. Over the last few years, I’ve been on somewhat of a bent reading book after book about World War II. A few months ago, I wrote about Kristin Hannah’s, The Nightingale.  In that post, I mentioned A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell.  Now, The Book Thief.

This last story has very few characters. It allows you to get to know them intimately. I love it when talented authors can connect you with the characters in such a way that you feel like you know them personally!  This was one of those stories. It is also a story that captivates you with the horrors of war, the resilience of the human spirit, and the tragedies as well as joy of loving others. The story offers examples of fictional characters that transcend the code set forth by society. You feel the devastation of death and the void that is left when those we love are no longer present in our lives.

Although much of the story is sad, it is told from a unique viewpoint. I won’t give it away by telling you who’s viewpoint it is. You’ll have to read the book to find out. It is worth the time. I’ve never been a student of history. And, due to my educational pursuits being more in the scientific realm, my formal education of historical events dates back to high school. This is true if you discount the environmental history course which I took last spring.  I have found that WWII fascinates me! The events were so horrendous, and yet the resilience of the human spirit is there. So, is this a book review/recommendation?  I guess, it is, of sorts. It’s also my way of saying that I’m sad the story is over. Now, I’ll have to find another “good book” to have on hand when my friend, Insomnia, decides to visit again!


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