How many times have I found myself transported to another place, and another time? How many times have I imagined living in a different world, a different era? But I would never wish to exist in the time of The Book Thief.
Specially not on Himmel Street.
The Book Thief is my book #14 for 2018. I took my time with this one, reading just a few pages a day. Towards the end, I wanted to keep reading. All the while knowing…
That I may not have the courage to live in that harsh reality of wartime Germany. I don’t know that I have the heart to survive it.
Liesel Meminger had to say so many goodbyes at a tender young age. All because of words. Words. Words. Words that planted seeds of fear and hate. Words that started and fueled a war. Words that ripped families apart. Words that sent home thousands of souls earlier than they had to.
Is it coincidence that I read Markus Zusak’s masterpiece at this very season? There is a lot happening in our country, and in the world today. And once again, words are at the center. Words that are once again being shaken and used to distract, confuse, instill fear, and instigate hate. Words that are rewriting history, and shaping a new reality.
But it is also Words that helped Liesel cope. Words kept her alive. Zusak weaved for us a beautiful tale of humans that existed in that time. He forces us to remember that where there is ugliness, there is also beauty. And that kindness continues to persist in a world full of hate.
No, I would not wish to have lived in that time, in that place, but I would have been fortunate to have known the likes of Liesel, her family and her friends.
They are a reminder that there are Hans and Rosa Hubermanns out there who are willing to care for the lost and forgotten. That no matter the danger, it is right to repay kindness with kindness. There are Rudys, who are true friends, and this one shows us that boys can grow up to be decent young men who will give their all. And there is Max, who held on to hope even when it seemed that all is lost, and who never failed to show gratitude in every way he could.
So I also know that now we have a choice – do we allow the words of modern-day Fuhrers to shape our world, or will we use our words to spark hope, spread kindness, bring joy, and inspire change?