Movie Review: The Book Thief

It’s taken me longer than I planned, but I finally saw The Book Thief last weekend. I grabbed a bucket of popcorn and a box of tissues and sat back to–hopefully–enjoy one of my favorite books on the big screen.

MV5BOTE3NzkyMjAyNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDc5MTE0MDE@._V1_As a whole, I did enjoy the film. I feel the adaptation was true to the book and brought Himmel Street to life beautifully. And judging by the round of applause inside the theater at the end, I’d say other fans enjoyed it too.

Probably the best and most spot-on part about the film was the cast. Sophie Nélisse as Liesel was amazing, and Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson as Hans and Rosa were exactly as I imagined them. And–just like the book–my favorite character was Rudy. In fact, I might love him even more after seeing the adorable and endearing Nico Liersch play him. (I just want to pinch his cheeks!)

_MG_6517April 02, 2013.cr2Okay, now for a couple of things that…disappointed me. And let me preface this by saying 1) These are nit-picky complaints coming from a book lover’s perspective, and 2) Despite these complaints, I still give the film two thumbs up.

First, was Death’s downgraded role. In my opinion, one of the best parts about The Book Thief was Death’s unique narrative. It added such an eerie tone and impending sense of doom. And although the movie opened with Death welcoming us, it quickly faded into the background and only returned here and there. This caused the movie to fall a bit flat for me. Without the ongoing presence of its morbid storyteller, the story just wasn’t as dark or suspenseful or special as it could’ve been.

book-thief-trailer-08212013-125609(If haven’t read the book or seen the movie (and plan to), don’t read this next paragraph).

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Second, was Rudy’s death. One of the worst and best parts of the book was its horrific ending. I knew the moment Hans said goodnight to Liesel and left her in the basement that I was going to need my tissues. And, trust me, I used them. BUT my tears were staunched when Liesel ran to Rudy’s body amongst the rubble, shouting his name and begging him to open his eyes–and he did! Whhhattt? Okay, okay. I know what you’re thinking: “What’s the big deal? So what if Rudy lived an extra couple of hours than he did in the book? He still died and it is still awful.” And yes, it is. But, for me, Rudy’s death was one of the most haunting scenes in the book. The way Death embraced his soul and took extra care of it was both tragic and comforting…I also felt his death scene was on the melodramatic–even cheesy–side. When Rudy opened his eyes and gasped, “Liesel, I have to tell you…” and then died, I felt more amused than sad. It just seemed so cliche and predictable.

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Okay, I’m done complaining. Back to the positive.

Overall, I’d highly recommend this film to both fans of the book and those who’ve never heard of it. It’s a remarkable story that stays with you for days–weeks–months–years after reading/watching it. So don’t miss out!

And, seriously, go read the book if you haven’t. It’s. Amazing!

Jen’s Rating

4 Star

Book of the Month – November

To celebrate its movie release on November 8th, I’m spotlighting The Book Thief this month. (Sorry Catching Fire. I love you too, but you get enough hype as it is. You don’t need my help ;-)).

19063-1The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Synopsis

“The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that will be in movie theaters on November 15, 2013, Markus Zusak’s unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul.
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.”

Jen’s Review

When people ask me, “What’s your favorite book?” I first glare at them, and then I tell them I don’t have a favorite (what book nerd does?). Then, when they still won’t leave me alone, I spout off a handful of memorable titles. The Book Thief is always on the list. Always.

How about a kiss, Saumensch?”

Now, I’m not going to lie: The Book Thief starts out a bit slow. You must be patient the first 100 or so pages while you warm up to the author’s style and the narrator’s unique voice. Once you get a grip on both, the story starts to fly by, faster and faster, until you can’t put it down and you’re heading towards what is shaping up to be a cataclysmic ending…Don’t worry, I won’t tell you what that ending is. This is a spoiler-free zone, remember? However, I will tell you that to this day (two years since I read the book) I still get teary-eyed about it. Happy tears? Sad tears? Tears of relief? Tears of frustration? Tears of I-can’t-believe-the-story-is-already-over!? Well, I’m not telling you! You’ll just have to read it and find out for yourself.

A small fact: You are going to die….does this worry you?”

I can’t express how much I love this book. And I hope everyone reads it, especially before they see the movie. Because, as great as the trailer looks, we all know the book is always better than the movie, right?

Jen’s Rating

5 Star

Read more about the Book Thief here!

Colorado, my beloved state, floods

I have lived in the great state of Colorado my entire life. And I love it with my whole heart. I love waking up to the sight of “my” Rocky Mountains, breathing in the thin Mile High air, and basking in the average 300 sunny days/year. And I love how the mountains are an official direction on our compass–north, south, away from the mountains, towards the mountains.

Colorado is home. And it always will be.

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As many of you have seen or heard by now, my beloved state has been ravaged by Mother Nature. For a week, we’ve been drenched with so much rain, that many communities are now underwater. As of yesterday afternoon, there were 17,494 homes damaged, 1,502 homes destroyed, 11,700 people evacuated, 5 people dead, 1,253 people unaccounted for, and 26 shelters. According to the news, the air evacuations for this storm are the second largest to Katrina.

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Let me emphasize how UNUSUAL this storm has been for Colorado. Simply put, we don’t get days upon days of rain. It’s weird, the epitome of strange. Far, far, far stranger than having a sunny day interrupted by a raging blizzard that’s melted within an hour by the sun’s warm return. Freaky weather is the norm here (probably why most of us have sunblock, an umbrella, a jacket and mittens stored in our car year-round.) But endless rain? NOT normal. At all.

On Saturday, a miracle happened. I awoke to blue skies! I can’t even describe how happy I was. I cheerfully sat down at my desk and began working on my manuscript, all the while grinning at the sun rays streaming in through my windows.

A few hours later I left to go get some lunch and this is what I saw creeping towards me from the south:

1184810_10101180968371903_147437080_nI wanted to cry. I never thought I would hate the rain. Rain has always been a friend–a blessing. It’s Colorado’s savior when the wildfires are out of control and the smoke is so thick, we have to close our windows to keep the ash from entering our homes. This time, it’s been our enemy–a never ending nightmare.

The local weather described this historical storm as a wet towel being wrung out over our state. The clouds crawled over the mountains, spread out across the metro area, and then swooped back to the mountains, only to get stuck at their base, dumping billions upon billions of gallons of water on us. We’ve been told if this rain had been snow, we would’ve received at least 7 to 10 feet. 7 to 10 FEET! Do you have any idea how much snow that is? Last year, we had a blizzard that dropped 2-feet on us, and I was literally stuck in my house for two days.

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Personally, I have been blessed. I live south of Denver where the storm didn’t strike quite as hard. But it did strike, and everyday I left for work, I prayed I’d return to a dry, intact house. I did.

Unfortunately, the communities north of Denver (less than an hour away from where I live) did not experience the same relief as me. Communities like Boulder, Fort Collins, Evans and Greeley have been devastated by this unprecedented storm. Schools and universities have been shut down, homes have been evacuated, and many people have been stranded because no help can reach them. Some towns can’t even drink their water because it’s been contaminated, and others aren’t allowed to shower, flush their toilets or do the dishes for fear of contamination. It’s a disaster, one I never, ever, ever thought I’d see in Colorado. We experience deadly lightening, freezing blizzards and burning forest fires. Not hurricane-like floods.

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According to the news, we’re in for another day of rain. They predict that some of these storms could produce up to an inch of water in less than 30 minutes. Sigh…

However, it appears there IS a light at the end of this dark, gloomy tunnel. After today, the sun is supposed to come out and the temperatures are supposed to rise. I’m praying that’s true. And I’m praying for all those who’ve been so tragically affected by this unthinkable storm.

If you’re looking to help in any way, click here!

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