review: The Book Thief

by

Depending on which way you may want to go, you could choose a book that will help you escape the mood you’re in. Or you might prefer to find a book that matches your mood.

With our current political climate, I’ve been thinking a lot about the amazing story in The Book Thief.

Have you read it?

Admittedly, it’s another selection in my reading list of books intended for a young audience. But I don’t care. As I’ve said before, a compelling, exquisitely written story will win me over every time.

The Book Thief tells a heartbreaking yet beautiful story of poverty and war, as seen through the eyes of children. But as bleak as that sounds, it’s also a hopeful story about the redemptive, healing power of empathy, kindness, compassion, and everyday bravery. I’ll admit it: I cried throughout this book and found myself sobbing at the end.

The thought I was left with when I’d finished reading it, as I wiped away tears, was how much better off the world — our communities, the larger world, ourselves and those we interact with — would be if we simply chose to offer each other kindness whenever possible.

sky-and-tree-branches

By now, you may have figured out why the message of this book has been stuck in my head for the past few days.

Now — here — the ugliness of bullying, racism, misogyny, homophobia, and raw hatred for “others” seems to have suddenly been let back out into the wide open. And for many of us, our first reaction to the news was shock and despair.

But perhaps this moment is our call to try harder and be more vigilant in confronting ugliness.

To paraphrase a popular saying, “Be the good you want to see in the world.”

Volunteer, donate to worthy causes, speak up against hatred.

And practice kindness.

Always.

In your world, in your community, with your family and friends.

And, most especially: kindness to yourself.

Remember to take a deep breath, or two, or three. Foster calm and peace in your daily life. Look for the light in the darkness.

Be kind.

mug of tea