Anyway, yesterday I woke up to a hot, cranky baby with a tick of a cough and runny nose. Bye bye plans to run errands. Hello day at home with a sick baby (who seems to be on the mend today, thank God!). During the course of my day at home, I actually saw some TV commercials. I rarely watch/pay attention to commercials, but it tends to happen when I'm holding a clingy baby. And in a move that would appall my former self, I'm totally disconnected from pretty much all entertainment "news" media. Life is better that way. For sure.
But . . . it meant that I was disconnected enough to somehow NOT know that there is a movie version of The Book Thief coming out at Thanksgiving.
No, wait, I didn't express that right. There is a movie version of The Book Thief coming out at Thanksgiving!!!!111!!!eleventy!!!1!
So, I dusted it off to give it a quick reread so that I can properly assess how much they butcher the book when I get around to seeing the movie. We rarely see movies, but somehow, there are two movies Charles and I HAVE to see coming out around Turkey Day. (Catching Fire being the other one -- what was that I said about YA fiction? But in my defense he loved the first movie and wants to see the 2nd.)
I have something of a love/hate relationship with The Book Thief. I taught it to both my 9th graders and 12th graders the year before Clare was born. Nothing ever went over well with the seniors. My freshmen, though? Perfect book for them. Kids that age always seem to be super interested in the Holocaust, and I think this book provides an interesting take on it. There are lots of avenues for discussion and lots of literary stuff to learn about.
But oh my gosh, does it drag at times.
In the end, everything comes together beautifully and makes sense and most of the dragging bits seem a lot more necessary. But getting there the first time, for me, wasn't easy. It really is better on reread. I'd recommend it with someone to discuss the book with for advanced/mature junior high through 9th grade and (technically) independently for anyone else. There is some harsh language and violence (it is about WWII, after all), and a touch of non-sexual nudity. None of it is particularly gratuitous, more literary in nature. There are definitely themes that are best unpacked and discussed. It is not a book I would hand a kid and say, "Go to! Have fun!"
Anyway, I'm sure the movie will be a disaster (they've already appeared to change the narrator -- HELLO!!! major issue right there!!!), but I've given so much of my life to reading the darn thing. Rereading it. Re-rereading it. Writing quizzes. Grading quizzes. Discussion. Papers. Life of a teacher stuff, that I have to see it. And I have to reread/skim it, because this (semi-spoiler, I guess. But I don't know if you can actually glean anything from it):
I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn't already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race -- that rarely do I simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and glorious and its words and stories so damning and brilliant. (Zusak 550)gets me every time.