Well I guess this week is Movie week what with Mondays discussion being The Reasons Why the Book is ALWAYS Better Than the Movie but I didn’t actually plan it that way. For Friday Favourites this week i am going to tell you all about my favourite book that has been adapted into a movie. I had to think long and hard about this, and nearly chose one of the Harry Potter movies but instead I went with The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
This is one of the few movies that I enjoyed, despite the fact that I had read the book before I saw it.
Both the book and the movie are great and they tell the story of a German girl, Liesel Meminger, given up by her mother as she could no longer feed her or her brother, her brother dies on route and they bury him by the tracks. During the burial one of the grave diggers inadvertently drops a book which Liesel appropriates and this is the first book she steals, despite and possibly because of the fact that she couldn’t read.
The book and the movie are both narrated by DEATH who supposedly takes an interest in Liesel on the train when her brother dies, and as the book is set around WW2 there is a lot of death going on. The idea that Death and War being good friends is what inspired the inclusion of the grim reaper into the book.
Liesel goes to live with a middle aged couple (who in the book had absent adult children but this wasn’t mentioned in the movie) the Hubermans, Mrs Huberman is fierce and prickly and Hans Huberman who is friendly and wears his heart on his sleeve.
Then one day Max arrived who is the son of a man, a Jew who saved Hans’s life in WW1 and Hans agrees to hide Max. Max is ill when he arrives and is nursed upstairs but once recovered he is moved into the basement and doesn’t see the sun again for years.
What makes this book and movie so great is the characters contained within and the relationships they have. Mr and Mrs Huberman especially Hans are wonderful parents and show so much love, even Mrs Huberman who is particularly sharp tongued. Hans teaches Liesel to read, even though he is not a confident reader himself and Max inspires Liesel to write.
Both the book and the movie made me cry. There are minor differences between the book and the movie, like the origin of the diary, in the movie max paints over a copy of Mein kampf and give it to Liesel but in the book the Mayors wife gives her a diary and the copy of Mein kampf that is over-painted is used for Max to write his books which he later gives to Liesel. But on the whole the story is streamlined and some aspects of backstory are omitted but the book was quite intricate, I don’t think that the overall feel of the book was compromised by the movie though.
I really wanted this book to have been written by a German but no Markus Zusak is an Australian who was born in Sidney and still lives there with his wife and two children. His parents however have memories of seeing the Jewish people paraded through the streets of a small German town and other stories from these times. He has written several other books but none of which anywhere near as successful as The Book Thief but the folks at Goodreads do rate them fairly highly but it is difficult coming back from such a huge success. If you are interested his website contains loads interesting snippets into his backstory and writing process. And he tweets @Markus_Zusak.