The Book Thief

on Hotstar

Read time: about 3 minutes

When I started watching the movie I didn’t know I would remember the book as I do. The book thief is probably the first book I ever read based on the Great War. It was special. It was different. Narrated by death himself the book was spectacular. But somehow it failed to hold my attention for long. I did finish it but forgot soon too.

The Book Thief

My recent subscription to Hotstar gave me an opportunity to watch the movie version of the book and it left me heartbroken. Not general term that people use when they get to know their favourite cheesecake got over before they could get to the store. I mean literal heartbroken. When I am going to think about both the book and movie for days and feel sad about it.

Liesel is a young girl who loses her brother on her way to her foster parents. She is left by her communist mother who couldn’t have supported two children, who most probably is taken in by the Nazis. Liesel makes her life in the heavens street and slowly watches it crumble. She is a brave wise girl whom even death applauds.

It is a story of a family in Germany in the time of the Second World War. Hubermann family has a woman cloaked in thunderstorm and the man of the house is has a light soul. They want to just get by the war somehow. And then one day max enters their lives. Max is a Jew. The Humbermann family hides him and when he is about to die they wonder how they would dispose him without raising suspicion. Pity. Max does not die hence in a way saves the family. Liesel describes the day for him as he hides underground like a worm.

There is so much to the book but everything distils to the magic of words. Everything finds its meaning through words. The pain is described in words. The joy of Christmas in felt in words. And when bombs are falling down Heaven Street everyone finds solace in words.

Liesel’s character development as a child who cannot read words to one who reads to people for comfort is spectacular. She is a wise girl who understands the importance of book. She does not steal them but ‘borrows’ them.

There familial relationship is also a beautiful part of the movie as well as the book. Maama and Papa are the amazing parents to Liesel. Max is a great friend who puts others before himself. The best Christmas for Liesel and the first one for Max is the happiest scene in the entire movie. I would love to rewind and watch them play with snow time and again. Rudy is the best friend who never got the kiss he always joked about. Death has a major part to play in the movie. The last 10 minutes of the movie will make you cry like a baby. When death visits the residents of Heaven Street he claims he is haunted by humans. He is also a loyal servant of the Führer.

Even though the book was beautiful I did not enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the movie. Which one did you like, Book or Movie?

Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH