Have you seen the trailer for "The Book Thief" yet? This highly-anticipated film adaptation of Markus Zusak's novel, starring Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson, will be released on November 15th and has already received a torrent of praise and Oscar buzz. Set during WWII, it is the story of 12-year-old Liesel, an orphan who is abandoned by her mother and must live with foster parents in Nazi-occupied Germany. Grief-stricken at the loss of her own family and afraid of her surroundings, she finds solace and hope through the stories she reads with her new Papa, the books she steals, and the friendship she develops with Max, a Jewish man hiding in her foster family's basement.
Take a look at the trailer. It appears beautiful and epic.
A Michael L. Printz Award-winner and New York Times bestseller, the novel has experienced some controversy since publishing in 2005 because of its difficult subject matter for young readers. Zusak lives in Australia, and while the book is marketed internationally for adults, in the U.S., it is sold as a book for teens. Narrated by Death, readers are immediately enveloped in this difficult subject matter, though the character of Death, in contrast to cultural perceptions, is kind, sympathetic, critical of war, and even humorous at times.
Several years ago, at the encouragement of a friend, I listened to the audiobook, which I would highly recommend; the narrator, Allan Corduner, magically brings the story and personalities to life in a way I didn't experience on the page. I'm not much of a fiction reader and often resist picking up novels, especially ones that are over 500 pages long! But I am very grateful for my friend's encouragement, because for me, "The Book Thief" became what I like to refer to as a huggable book, or one that I don't want to let go of well after I have finished reading it. As the marketing of the book suggests, it's a story that can be enjoyed by adults and teens alike, combining a harsh and unfair reality with transcendant hopes and dreams. I can't wait to see how it plays out on the big screen.
Have you read "The Book Thief"? Will you see the movie?
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