Thursday, January 9, 2014

Once upon a time, I heard about a Young Adult novel called THE BOOK THIEF. Back then, I was still somewhat new to the YA world, having only really read the Harry Potter and Twilight series. But I was intrigued. These stories about young people doing big things spoke to me in a way that I had almost forgotten books could. They made reading not just beautiful or smart (as many adult books do) but fun too.

A couple years later, I finally got around to reading THE BOOK THIEF. Truthfully, the novel was long and unusual and maybe even a bit slow... But Sarah urged me to stick with it, so I did. (For the record, Sarah is almost always right when it comes to books. Trust the Wedge!) And thank goodness I kept reading, because THE BOOK THIEF became a favorite of mine. It was beautiful and smart and fun. It was one of a kind.

Recently, THE BOOK THIEF became a movie. Yesterday, I went to see it in a theater, and I cried and cried and cried. Just like the book, the film was beautiful and smart and fun. It brought the story to life -- not necessarily true to every scene or line, but true to the spirit. Liesl was brave and warm. Rudy was innocent and devoted. Max was resilient and hopeful. Papa Hubermann was honest and kind. Mama Hubermann was fierce and proud.

If I'm being critical, I would say that there are a few moments where the two kids sound strangely wooden, due to their accents combining with the brevity of their lines. But they more than make up for it in every other way. Their charm, their chemistry, their vulnerability, their strength.

Artistically, the film is truly beautiful. There's a scene early on with a black car driving through the snowy countryside, and I remember feeling absolutely captivated by the stark simple elegance of that shot. John Williams's score is a perfect complement, moving from a tender melody for Rudy and Liesl's young love, to the urgent crescendo of burning books and shattered windows and wartime.

Do yourself a favor and read this book. See this film. And if you're anything like me, make sure you have tissues for both.


We Heart YA said...

Ah!!!! I wish we could have seen this together. I haven't managed to just yet, but will soon. Your review makes me even more excited. xx

Ingrid Palmer said...

This sounds so good. The Book Thief has been on my TBR list forever. You have just made me move it right to the top, Kristan!

Emma said...

I've been super wary of the movie version of The Book Thief, because I was afraid that it would remove all those gritty aspects of the novel that made it seem less sappy and more authentic. (Yanno, like Liesel and Rudy calling each other Saumensch and Saukerl.) I may have to give it a chance, though, now that I've read your review.

We Heart YA said...

I wish we could have all watched together too!

I think you will LOVE it.

The "naughty names" are still in there, haha. I thought they stayed very authentic to the characters. They definitely trimmed a lot of things down, but as long as you don't reread the book right before watching, I don't think you'll leave disappointed.

Andria Buchanan said...

Oh I cried through this book. Haven't seen the movie yet but I can barely wait.

Sara said...

It was a really faithful adaptation! The casting was absolutely phenomenal and the score is GORGEOUS.

Michelle Santiago said...

i was dying to watch the book thief and then the end of semester/graduation/trip planning craziness happened and i missed the theater release. now i gotta wait for the DVD :_(

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Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.



on the shelf

The Bitter Kingdom
Wild Awake
The Raven Boys
Mind Games
Eleanor and Park
The Shattered Mountain
The Shadow Cats
Froi of the Exiles
Days of Blood & Starlight
Every Day
Jellicoe Road
Finnikin of the Rock
Guitar Notes
The Dead-Tossed Waves
The Crown of Embers
New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
The Fault in Our Stars

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