Book Review: The Book Thief by Zusak (5 Stars)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

5 out of 5 stars

Read in April 2009

This book is outstanding and well deserving of its many awards. Even better, it is classified as young adult fiction. And I hope one day, soon, The Book Thief is read and taught in classrooms around the world … because everyone should read this book.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to grow up and come of age in Nazi Germany during World War II? Not as a Jew, but as a German citizen – a foster child recently bereft of her younger brother.

Lisa’s coping mechanism is to steal books. In fact, her first theft occurs at her brother’s funeral. One of the cemetery workers drops The Gravediggers Handbook in the snow and Lisa snatches it up. Later, her new “papa” teachers her to read using this stolen book.

Her most daring theft occurred at a Hitler Youth Rally book burning. She rescued The Shoulder Shrug right out of the bonfire!

The story is narrated by Death who is the ultimate book thief. He stole Lisa’s autobiography when he collected her soul many years after the war. He has read her story so many times, the pages are crumbling in his hands. He admits at the end of the story that he no longer needs the pages because he’s memorized it from re-reading it so often.

I hope you will follow in Death’s footsteps and steal this book and remember it always.

Movie Review: The Counterfeiters (2007)

The Counterfeiters (2007)

3.5 out of 5 stars

Winner of the 2007 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

Terry and I avoided watching the actual Oscars Award ceremony last Sunday evening by watching a previously recorded to DVR copy of The Counterfeiters, an Austrian-German foreign language film that won an Oscar five years previously.

Synopsis from Wikipedia:

It fictionalizes Operation Bernhard, a secret plan by the Nazis during the Second World War to destabilize the United Kingdom by flooding its economy with forged Bank of England bank notes. The film centers on a Jewish counterfeiter, Salomon ‘Sally’ Sorowitsch, who is coerced into assisting the Nazi operation at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

The film is based on a memoir written by Adolf Burger, a Jewish Slovak typographer who was imprisoned in 1942 for forging baptismal certificates to save Jews from deportation, and was later interned at Sachsenhausen to work on Operation Bernhard.[2] Ruzowitsky consulted closely with Burger through almost every stage of the writing and production. The film won the 2007 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar at the 80th Academy Awards.

The Counterfeiters (film), Wikipedia article

Not an easy film to watch, of course.  Nothing focusing on the Holocaust and Nazi concentration camps is ever easy to watch and never should be.  Even with the handicap of having to read subtitles, I found it easy to keep up with the story.  But, in the end, I found it difficult to relate to any of the characters, so I failed to make a meaningful emotional connection.  I admired Burger, who kept sabotaging Sorowitsch’s efforts to counterfeit the dollar.