College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
which extols the virtues of moral behavior toward other humans and animals as well as industry and critical thinking in tight situations. Wyss devised this novel as something of an instructional manual for right living, a kind of didactic Robinson Crusoe, to be read and followed by his sons, but the wonderful adventure makes this also an entertaining and enjoyable read. A great classic for both children and adults!
despite its often soaring lyricism and high poetic qualities (which merit the four-star rating), there are clunkers and awkwardness when the author tries to push things too far. Having Death narrate the story was interesting, but it could have been more so. Death's synesthesia early in the book was a bit disjointed and didn't seem to serve much purpose other than to try to shove some kind of "mysterious feeling" on us, and then it is simply left off later on. I had to laugh out loud when Death claimed to have performed the gathering of souls "millions of times"--only millions of dead people in the entire history of humankind??? And then one has to wonder how Death has the time to take such care with each individual when there are tremendous numbers of people worldwide dying every second of every day. Yeah, I know: it's just a metaphor. But somehow, it just didn't work. And then there was the use of German. Maybe it could come off as a charming, knowing dash of cultural flare for a non-speaker, but as someone who is fluent in German, I have to say it was intrusive and often just silly. The author clearly does not speak the language, given the MINDLESS repeating of a handful of pet-phrases and the overly simplified sentences he puts in the mouths of supposedly native Germans. (The author needs a German thesaurus and grammar guide.) And then, rather than leave the choppy little bits of the Teutonic language, the author goes back and translates every single phrase of German into English for the reader! Just let readers look it up if they want or tell us once they spoke German and then give it all in English so readers don't have to go through the awkwardness of the way it is presented here. There were lots of little clumsy bits like this, and the fact that I am still giving it four stars shows how rich it is when it is going well. I suppose, in the end, The Book Thief is like another little girl with a curl in the middle of her forehead: "when it is good, it is very, very good, and when it is bad, it is horrid..."
you will love the book! A touching and well told tale from the horse's point of view, a la Black Beauty. A classic!