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Is there anyone else on here who didn't love The Book Thief?

(265 Posts)
TunipTheVegedude Sun 07-Jul-13 20:54:58

I was told to persevere with it and I'm now 63% through and it's annoying me more than ever.
I'm finding it pretentious and dull and while some of the characters are fine, the girl is totally unconvincing - she reads like someone has sat down and decided on some interesting characteristics to give her ('I know! I'll make her good at fighting and football!') rather than the character growing naturally.
Is it going to get better in the last 37%?

issimma Sun 07-Jul-13 20:58:25

I've just finished it, but I loved it, I'm afraid! Did find it pretentious to begin with, but soon got used to the style and couldn't put it down.
Don't persevere if you don't like it though, life's too short!

ExitPursuedByABear Sun 07-Jul-13 20:59:51

Never got past the first chapter despite three attempts.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sun 07-Jul-13 21:01:39

I liked it but I'm struggling to get through The Woman in Black. People kept telling me it was scary sad

Give up if you don't like it. I liked it from the beginning but if you didn't then you aren't going to suddenly start enjoying it.

Kasbaah Sun 07-Jul-13 21:07:46

Just go with the flow, it's so unusual

CoteDAzur Sun 07-Jul-13 21:13:33

The Book Thief was published as a "young adult" book - i.e. for teenagers. It is a fine introduction to the holocaust if you are a teenager, but seriously, after the age of 25 or so, haven't we all read/watched so many better works on that subject?

One would expect that Death as a character at the very least would have something interesting to say. You know, as the timeless predator that has carried everyone to their end, kind of like vampire Lestat in Interview With The Vampire. But no, Death was rambling on like a mindless android about the colour of this, the colour of that.

It doesn't get better in the last 1/3 either, OP.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Sun 07-Jul-13 21:14:42

I started it but didn't find it gripping enough and got distracted by other books. Will maybe give another go one day.

IThink The Woman in Black isn't very scary at all, although I probably wouldn't read it alone on a dark night. I've just bought Susan Hill's The Small Hand and wondering if that is scarier.

CoolaSchmoola Sun 07-Jul-13 21:20:28

I have a BA and MA in English Literature and my allegedly educated opinion of it is that it is a pile of wank.

Hated it, don't finish it because I did and the overriding feeling at the end, beside a sense of utter relief that it was finally over, was regret that I would never get those hours back.

It is dreadful, tries to hard.

TunipTheVegedude Sun 07-Jul-13 21:25:06

Ha! Brilliant! Thanks everyone.

Tries too hard - yes, exactly.
When Max is painting over the pages of Mein Kampf to write his own story it's like MASSIVE BIG CLUNKING METAPHOR.

The only thing I like about it so far is the way Rosa is so unappealing at first and then you realise she's really heroic.

Cote - I read a lot of YA, I am generally not keen on literary fiction. AFAIK The Book Thief was not written as YA but publishers spotted a market and brought it out under YA imprints. I blame them for sneaking it into a category which is not normally weighed down by poncery.

LRDLearningKnigaBook Sun 07-Jul-13 21:29:53

Not read it - will have a look, thanks. smile

I have a BA, an MA and I'm just about to submit my PhD in English Literature, and in my educated opinion, it is just as difficult to write a good book for teenagers as for adults.

I agree, though, I find authors who try 'to hard' difficult to enjoy. I'd prefer it if they'd only put more effort into the basics and less into over-ambitious ideas. sad It is quite a common failing, though, and not limited to YA authors.

I liked it (and have an English degree, not that this seems relevant!). I liked Death.

The Woman In Black is a pile of crap though - about as scary as Thomas the Tank Engine.

BOF Sun 07-Jul-13 21:34:47

Well, I'm a tenured professor of English Literature, and I rather enjoyed it. Perhaps it just goes over some people's heads?

CoteDAzur Sun 07-Jul-13 21:35:08

I haven't even read YA when I was YA. Imho, Book Thief was not written for an adult audience - too shallow, too narrow and simple.

LRDLearningKnigaBook Sun 07-Jul-13 21:35:40

Sorry, you're quite right, it's not relevant.

I just find it sad that we have to be sneering at stuff not being sufficiently grown-up or being too 'try hard'.

Maybe the heat is putting me in a foul mood.

TunipTheVegedude Sun 07-Jul-13 21:35:40

I quite like The Woman In Black and it did scare me.
It's just a modern pastiche of a Victorian ghost story and it's not as good as the best Victorian ghost stories by any means but it worked for me.

LRDLearningKnigaBook Sun 07-Jul-13 21:36:15


Cross posted, and just see my point proven.

BOF, excuse me while I curtsey.

LRDLearningKnigaBook Sun 07-Jul-13 21:36:41

I loved the film of Woman in Black - that is really scary.

Is the book better, or worse?

imademarion Sun 07-Jul-13 21:37:18

I couldn't be arsed to finish it; thought it was self-regarding twaddle, and I will pretty much read everything and anything.

Emperors New Clothes.

Gave it away half way through.

CoteDAzur Sun 07-Jul-13 21:37:53

Tell us, Professor BOF, what subtle literary achievement was in The Book Thief that has gone over our heads? I would really like to know smile

The Daniel Radcliffe film? I loathed it. It didn't scare me at all, and I am a super-wuss usually.

LRDLearningKnigaBook Sun 07-Jul-13 21:39:32

Oh, really, remus? sad

I loved it. I am a giant wuss though. And I have a paranoia about that sort of idea, so it played on me being scared.

I clearly need to read the book. smile

itsallshitandmoreshit Sun 07-Jul-13 21:41:30

I hated it. I found it weak, childish and boring and struggled to finished it.

I'm not sure why people liked it so much but then you could say that about any book I guess smile

BOF Sun 07-Jul-13 21:42:47

I think you either get it or you don't, Côte...

<shakes head sadly>

LRD - if you liked the film, I'm sure you'd like the book. The end of the film is v different to the book though.

LRDLearningKnigaBook Sun 07-Jul-13 21:45:17


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