Welcome to the final Online Book Club discussion of The Book Thief.
Be honest--did you cry at all when reading the last section? I had to take a couple of breaks because I felt very emotional while reading.
In this section, there was another part where a little decision led to something bigger. In this section, Rudy decides that he wants to win four gold medals, and because he works so hard to become a great athlete, he comes to the attention of the Nazi leadership. And, because his parents don't want him to go away from home, the Nazi leaders decide that Rudy's dad should go away to war. I just can't believe how often little decisions make such a huge impact in this story. It's just incredible.
Were you surprised that the mayor's wife knew that Liesel was sneaking in and out of the house? I was not surprised. Liesel was just getting in and out too easily. And, it seemed like the library was always waiting for her. I'm glad the two were able to reconnect with each other and forgive each other. I'm glad Liesel had another adult who was looking out for her.
In the middle of this section, Hans Hubermann decides to offer bread to one of the Jewish people in the prisoner transport line. That choice causes Max to leave the Hubermann house, and it makes the Nazi leaders send Hans off to serve. It was good that he didn't have to go off and fight, but still, he had a very dangerous job. I can't imagine helping dig people out after an air raid. I assume buildings would be really unsteady, and I'm sure there was fire all around. I would not do very well at that job. What did you think of the fact that Hans narrowly avoided death again? I was glad that he was able to come back home, but, of course, that happiness was short-lived.
At the beginning of Part 10, Zusak tells us that everyone in the town dies except for Liesel because she is writing in the basement. Again, that bit of foreshadowing almost made me want to stop reading. I didn't want to get to the end and see everyone die. But, I kept reading. I think I took a break for the day, trying to gather my courage. Did you feel that way while you were reading?
Max and Liesel are quickly reunited while Max was in a transport. Were you more surprised that they saw each other or that Max was still alive?
The last bombing scene was terrible to read. Liesel finally kissed Rudy, she mourned for her parents, and even Death was affected by her grief. Why do you think Zusak chose to kill so many characters at the end of the book? Do you think that was necessary? Why do you think Liesel was the only one saved? Would you have changed anything if you were the one writing the end of the book?
At the very end, we learn that Liesel ended up living a long life, and she had a husband and children and grandchildren. We also find out that Liesel ended up staying with Rudy's dad, and Max survived the war. I don't think that Max and Liesel ended up together. I don't think he is the husband that she eventually got. I think their relationship was like a brother and sister, not like a boyfriend and girlfriend. What do you think? Do you think they ended up together? I think Liesel's true love was Rudy. But, I'm glad that she did eventually find love again.
What did you think of the book as a whole? Did you enjoy reading it? Do you think you'll read other things by the author? Was there a part of the story you enjoyed that I didn't mention? If you enjoyed this book and would like to read and watch other stories like it, check out this list I created. Make sure to let me know if you check out anything on the list!
Before you go, check out the video below about the making of the movie. Hopefully, it inspires you to watch the movie now that you have read the book! And, check out this video interview in which Markus Zusak tells the inspiration for the book.
Next month, we're reading something totally different. We'll be reading Dashing Through the Snow, a holiday novel that has been adapted into a Hallmark Christmas movie. I hope you'll join us again next month, and I can't wait to hear from you in the comments section.