Okay. I will admit that I opened this book yesterday, realized I had a good 175 pages to read for today's discussion and thought crap. But life has been busy, and yadda yadda yadda... Turns out, I had NO PROBLEM reading well past Part 3 all in one day. This book is so unique, so good. I will try to put my finger on just what sucked me in as I answer the discussion questions for today.
1. What's your first impression of Death as a character/narrator?
For real, the dude creeped me out. At first. All those colors. Coming to take souls away. But then Death mentioned a couple of things. A) he tries not to stay around, he (and Death is a man, right?) tries not to watch, he tries not to care, B) Death does care as evident when he mentions that he feels bad for the ones who are left behind, and C) he closed the first chapter with "I saw the book thief three times." Ah, he has counted. This book thief means something to him. Instantly, I went from being weirded out to curiously liking him. And it only grew from there.
2. What's your first impression of the unique writing style?
Actually, I liked it right away. I enjoy watching authors infuse their poetic style into their writing. It's different, that's for sure, but I think it suits the narrator well (knowing who he is and all).
3. Which character stands out to you the most so far and why?
Let me get one thing out: I HATE Rosa. I feel better just putting that down. Evil, mean foster mother. Why does that sweet Hans stay with her?! Now that that's over, I must say that I am most intrigued with Liesel and Death (does the narrator count?). I want to know more about why Liesel has acquired Death's interest so and why Death cares. I've got a good feeling I won't be disappointed.
4. What do you think the author is trying to say about the power of words?
Words, to Liesel and so many others, mean everything. The power of knowledge, of being able to read another's story and write down your own, takes a bit of the sting of death away. Perhaps this is another reason why Death makes such a great narrator here. Perhaps, by story's end, Death will learn something about why words are so important to the souls he takes away.
5. How do you feel about all the foreshadowing that's going on?
I think the foreshadowing is appropriate for our narrator. Although I don't like to think about it, death is always a foreshadowing of what's to come. I also think the foreshadowing is part of the reason I didn't want to put the book down yesterday.
6. Also, how do you feel about all that German swearing?!?
I don't notice the swearing as much because it's in German. It's comical, at parts, I guess, especially because there is an undercurrent of love (ironically enough) communicated between some of the characters who bash each other.
7. What do you think about the relationship between Hans and Rosa?
I wish I had a better answer here. Truthfully, I have yet to know why Hans ever got together with Rosa. She doesn't deserve him. I also have yet to understand Rosa and the reason behind why she is such a witch. I do think that, at times, there is a playful banter beneath the constant bashing. Rosa does love her husband.
8. What do you think about the relationship between Rudy and Liesel?
Super cute. I want more of it! I'm excited to see what happens between the two of them. I hope something does.
9. What are your feelings on the politics of the time that we've seen so far?
So, so, so incredibly sad. Reading books about this time period, watching movies about this time, visiting the Holocaust Museum--it always breaks my heart. So many people on all sides were powerless to make things better, and that's just not right.
10. What images and/or symbols stand out for you in this story so far?
Hmm. Colors, for one. Books, mud (on Rudy), and WORDS.
Any other participants of The Book Thief read along hosted by It's All About Books out there? Let me know what you thought of parts 1-3 in the comments!