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Life from Death’s Perspective – The Book Thief

STPbookthiefI just finished the “The Book Thief”, by Marcus Zusak.  This wonderful yet sad story tells of a little girl who grew up in Germany during the escalation of World War II. The narrator is ‘Death’, otherwise known as the Grim Reaper, who reviews the topic of ‘humans’ and ‘life’ as seen from Death’s perspective.  Death sees us all for what we really are inside because he carries away our souls at the time of death. Humans seem to amuse Death, and strike him as curious in the way they treat each other, and why.

In the story Death chats with us, as one human would with another. He examines what life is.  But Death is fascinated in particular by the personality of a little German foster girl named of Liesel Meminger, otherwise known as The Book Thief.  In the beginning of the story she is an illiterate orphan, but through the love and patience of her foster father she learns to read.  Later in the story a Jew comes to them for safety.  He is hidden from the Nazis in their basement where he survives.  His name is Max and he teaches Liesel to write with flair and creativity.  So she writes the story of her life.

Throughout the book Death editorializes and comments about human nature as he shares with us his in-depth look at life during a time of war, crisis, and death in Germany.

GOALS ARE CHOICES.  In a way, the Book Thief is all about all sorts of people who set goals in their lives.  For example, Hitler sets a goal to form the Third Reich and he turns the world upside down with his hatred and madness to create a super race.  In another example, Liesel sees her brother die, and at his burial steals a book she cannot read.  She then sets a goal to learn to read and words start to change her life.  Max, a jewish fighter, sets a goal to survive, and for 2 years he lives hidden away in a basement where he nearly dies.  His goal endangers the safety and wellbeing of Liesel’s entire family.  Hans, Liesel’s foster father, sets a goal to be kind towards his fellow man and avoids pressures to join the Nazi party. But his goal nearly costs him his life and the lives of all his loved ones as he reaches out to unfortunate jews through small acts of kindness.  Goals are choices that we make.  Choices have consequences.  And of course, every choice or goal is not one but two choices; the thing we will do and the thing we won’t do because of it.

THE POWER OF WORDS. The Book Thief also underscores over and over power of words.  For example, using words, Hitler destroyed the lives of millions, ruined a nation, and inflicted untold misery on mankind.  While others, also using words, brought comfort, relief, and victory over Nazism.  One of the great messages of the book is how important our words are.  We use words to help us articulate our goals in life.  Words send very specific messages to our brains and our brains then act on those messages or directions.  Our actions make up the ledger of what we do with our lives.  Goals are magic words that move us towards acts of good or evil.

Let us be positive in our goals and use our words to help us Get Where We’re Goaling.


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