AFTER READING THE BOOK Discussion 4: “Finding Love in a Hopeless Place”

Molching is very much a hopeless place for Liesel, Rudy, and their respective families.  They are living in a time of immense stress and danger and have to deal with many hardships.  Yet, there is something very beautiful about this book – I believe any way.  Whether it be from the way Death describes things or the relationships between people, there is Love here.  What did you find beautiful about this book?  Is it a specific line, a character, a plot line?  Or did you have trouble seeing beyond the ugliness of this world?


39 thoughts on “AFTER READING THE BOOK Discussion 4: “Finding Love in a Hopeless Place”

  1. I did not understand why the author put so much detail in to small useless facts in the beginning but I made you get more connected with the Characters which i guess was not useless information, any thoughts?

    • I did not have trouble seeing the beauty in “The Book Theif”. Hans Hubermann was the beauty in the book that stood out to me throughout the story. Hans was a very unique character that showed in the book. The way he always would sit and play the accordian for Leisel when she had nightmares, was a touching moment in the book. He also was very wise character. Hans would also take the higher road and do what is right. For example is when he declined becoming a hater of the Jews, because he knew it was wrong even though he knew it would cause him trouble later on in his life. What do you guys think of Hans?

      • Hans is up there with Atticus Finch (from To Kill a Mockingbird) for me as one of my all-time favorite characters. Just WAIT until you meet Atticus Finch. Like Hans, they both have the ability to take care of and help others in a way that does not make someone feel like less of person and they both are truly humble in doing so. We could all learn a little something from Hans.

        • I love Atticus Finch! He is one of the greatest book characters and I definitely agree that he is a lot like Hans. Even though he is kind of distant from his kids, you can definitely tell that he cares a lot and wants them to grow up to be good people. Just like Hans, he appreciates them for who they are and is kind and loving.

      • I agree that Hans is a beauty in the book. That light at the end of the tunnel you might say. The reason I think so is because of his kindness to Jews. Like Caitlin said, he refused too just blend in with everybody else, and instead took a stand for what he knew was right, even though it would bring him harm and he knew it. He was also a very kinds person, staying with Liesel during the night, and playing the accordion for her. Again he’s like the light at the end of the tunnel.

        • I also agree that Hans was my favorite character in “The Book Thief”. His demeanor and kindness definitely brought out the best in the story. To me, Hans was a sign of hope. There was so much cruelty in Nazi Germany, but he showed the better side of life. It broke my heart at the end of the story to find out that Hans died! He was such a role model to Liesel and showed so much love to her and the Jews.

          • I agree that Hans was a very kind and thoughtful character. He always put others first and never complained. Whenever Liesel had a nightmare, Hans would comfort her. He was so hopeful and always kept a positive attitude. Even when Max was in the basement, Hans made sure that Max ate and was feeling well. Having Hans as a character made the book so much more enjoyable to read!

          • I agree with Courtney H. Hans is also my favorite character in the book. He is nice to everyone and never complains about anything. He refused to let something that bothered him just be let alone. He was punished for announcing what he thought was right but it was a risk he was willing to take because he knew that he was standing up for a good cause. It made me feel better when I read about all of his caring and selfless acts. I thought it was very sweet that he stayed up with Liesel when she had nightmares and played the accordion for her no matter how late it was. When he died, I was crying uncontrollably because in my opinion he was the best part of the book.

          • I agree with Courtney H. and Hans was also my favorite character of the book. He was always nice and he never complained. I thought it was very sweet that he stayed up with Liesel when she had nightmares and played the accordion for her no matter how late it was. When he knew something wasn’t right he did not let it be. He spoke his mind and was punished but he knew it was worth it. It made me feel better whenever I read about all Hans’s selfless and caring acts. I was crying uncontrollably when Hans died because he was the best part of the book, in my opinion.

      • I definitely think that Hans was the “beauty” in the book. He was so kind and caring towards Leisel and was the main person to help her through the difficulties of the Holocaust and everything that was going on. Right away, he and Leisel connected and throughout the book, it is evident that he would do ANYTHING for her and also Rosa. He was strong and friendly and always took the day as it came in an optimistic way. It was amazing how he took in Max and risked his own, as well as Leisel and Rosa’s lives, to take care of the struggling boy because he was so grateful to his friend for saving his life. He was a very noble character and was a highlight of the book.

    • Sometimes reading a book for a second time (not that I’m suggesting that!) really helps you see why things were laid out in the way they are. I am currently reading The Book Thief for the second time and have a better understanding of why the details are there and why the narrator says certain things when.

  2. The book was very beautiful. Liesel, Hans, and Max, I thought were the most beautiful. They kept upbeat and didn’t keep bringing up negatives. I also saw beauty in the mayors wife. Although she was bitter about the death of her son and was very quiet she was kind to Liesel who couldn’t afford what Ilsa had so she shared. That showed true beauty with a wealthier being kind to someone who could have what she had. Although Liesel stole many times, she was still kind and welcoming to her.

    • I agree Liesel, Hans and Max were the sort of people you had to like. They were, as Katie said, positive characters when so many parts in their life were going terrible. Hans had trouble with his son, Liesel’s brother died when she was young and Max was a Jew in Nazi Germany. It took me a while to feel good for the mayor’s wife. Not until the end did I see the beauty in her when she left the dictionary by her window for Liesel to have.

    • I never thought about Isla being a beautiful character. But now that you mention it I do see it. I think when Isla first started letting Liesel into her library it was because she enjoyed the company. But after a little bit I think there was a bond developing over their love of books. When Isla stopped getting her laundry washed by Rosa, Liesel was very offended. But I think she felt betrayed and sad because she wouldn’t be able to look at the books anymore. I think Liesel felt the bond too and when she gave her the letter Liesel maybe felt like she was stabbed in the back. I think Isla understood why she was upset and thats why she kept leaving her window open.

  3. First of all, I feel that Liesel and Rudy had a love connection from the very beginning of the book. Second, being in the hopeless place that they were in is what makes their love so beautiful. Love can come so easily when your life has very little imperfections. When your life isn’t so hot, there is always someone who can comfort you, in this case, that someone was Rudy, it just took Liesel a little while to realize it.

    • I really agree with you Amanda. Rudy and Liesel’s relationship was another one of my favorites in “The Book Thief”. I loved how Liesel and Rudy could joke around and Liesel didn’t question him when he told her he was going to go kill Hitler. I loved how they would go stealing together and how Rudy came and checked in on her every day when Liesel was “sick”. I just wish Liesel discovered her love for him sooner.

      • I agree with you Maggie about Rudy and Liesel’s relationship in “The Book Thief.” I loved how they did everything together right from the start and how they could talk to each other so easily. They trusted each other and that what made their relationship so great. It was sad how Liesel only figured out she loved Rudy after he died. It’s crazy how you take people for granted and only realize what they’re worth once they’re taken away from you.

  4. I found that there was a lot of beauty in the book, but the most beautiful thing was the love that Hans had for Liesel. Unlike Rosa, Hans was nice to Liesel from the start. Hans always seemed to make Liesel feel better. He said things that cheered her up, and he taught her how to read and write. Hans loved Liesel dearly. In the book when Hans would play accordion or read to Liesel at night, I could feel that love.

    • I thought that one of the strongest bonds throughout the story was Hans, and Liesel. I agree with Emma, that from the beginning Hans had been kind. The moment Liesel arrived at the Hubermann’s house, Han’s had comforted and calmed Liesel. Throughout the story Hans showed that he would do anything for Liesel, because he loved her. Because they had such a strong bond it was hard, for Hans to go to war. When he returned it was evident how relieved both of them were. During the time Hans was in war, I believe Rosa and Liesel had time to better understand each other, allowing for them to have a greater bond.

    • I agree with Emma that Hans and Liesel had a beautiful relationship, but so did Rosa. Every time Rosa would yell “Saumensch” or threaten Liesel was her way of expressing her love. Like when she went to Liesel’s school and yelled at her so she would know Max was alive. But don’t get me wrong Liesel and Hans loved each other so very much.

  5. Liesel and Max had a strong friendship. Liesel always took care of Max, and tried to lessen the burden of having to live in the basement. Max felt so grateful being allowed to stay in the house, so he tried to give Liesel and her family anything he could. I could sense a great deal of love when Max gave Liesel a book he wrote. It was upsetting having to see Max leave and then seen marching through Molching. Liesel had searched for Max every time that there was a march of Jews, and was heart broken when she saw him. She potentially risked her life to be with him in the march. I was very glad at the end of the novel when she reunited with Max.

    • That’s very true. When Max was sick, Liesel would give him presents and read to him. That showed how strong there friendship really was. Max showed his friendship by writing a mini-book for Liesel. I was disappointed when Max left, but was delighted when he came back to Liesel.

  6. I feel the best aspects of the book were all the bonds that Liesel made. From the beginning of the book, she and Hans had a very strong relationship. Hans was always the one to comfort Liesel when she had her nightmares. He would play the accordion with her, sit with her while he should have been sleeping. Why, he even started teaching Liesel how to read during the night. Then comes Max, who I think had the strongest bond with Liesel. They would both talk to each other about their nightmares, give each other presents. They cared for each other as if they knew each other their whole lives. Max even wrote books for Liesel, letters on how she and hear family changed his life. Lets not forget about Rudy either, who welcomed Liesel as a friend from the very beginning and was always there for her. It’s beautiful that in all this darkness, Liesel coud still have such strong bonds with characters in the book.

    • I agree that the relationships in “The Book Thief” made an otherwise very dark story into something brighter. The strength of the bonds Liesel made helped her get through the difficult times. It showed that there is power in numbers and how important it is to rely on friendships for strength. I think Rudy’s sense of humor and acceptance helped make Liesel’s childhood more normal.

    • andrew is correct Liesel and hans had a great relationship. he was a great dad and even though there whole family did not have a lot there was love between them and I believe that that is important. Hans was a great father by just being there for Liesel and reading with her and comforting her during her nightmares. Also as Andrew explained there are more than one great relationship and i agree with everyone of them completely.

  7. What I found beautiful about this book was the relationship between Liesel and her Papa, Hans Hubermann. He would come to her bedside in the middle of the night to comfort her while she screamed of her nightmares about her dead brother. Papa would read to her until she fell asleep and he would stay in her room, sleeping in a hard, wooden chair to alleviate her pain. Papa would also play his accordion for Liesel and her stepmother. I did not have trouble seeing beyond the ugliness of this world because I knew that Papa would always be there to look out for Liesel and his family.

    • What some people might disagree on, I think Rosa had a very beautiful heart. Although she may not show it all the time Rosa had moments where her angry mask disappeared. She has much love for Liesel and Hans even though its hard to see behind the “saumench” and the “saukerl” it’s clear as water in her little moments throughout the book.

    • I completely agree with Courtney. I thought that Hans and Leisel’s relationship was beautiful. The way they cared about each other really during the story was amazing. I thought it was incredibly sweet when Hans would go into Liesel’s room at night when Liesel was scared and was having another nightmare. It was really nice how Hans went in every night and did not get aggravated and annoyed with Liesel. Liesel would find true beauty in Hans, from his personality to his accordion playing. They both found strength in each other which really stood out in the story.

  8. I saw beauty in the relationship between Arthur Berg, Rudy, and Liesel. Arthur was not an immoral person, even though he was a thief. When Rudy and Liesel stole the food from Otto they decided against keeping it all for themselves because of their loyalty toward Arthur. When they brought him the food he was not greedy either. He made sure that all the members of their clan got some of the food. After they had finished the food, Arthur told Liesel and Rudy to give the basket back to Otto. Lastly, when Rudy got caught on the fence and Liesel came back to help him, Arthur returned despite his “fend for yourself” rule. The relationship between Berg, Rudy, and Liesel was truly the beauty in this book.

    • I agree with Jared, and even though it was a bit sad, I think it was thouhtful of Death to add that little part of what happened after Authur left Molching.

    • Jared brings up a great point that I feel many people might overlook. He said how author was not greedy and I completely agree I feel that he was like a parent to a kid, he made sure that everyone else had what they needed. he also looked out for the other thief’s in the group. I also do not think that he was a mean person because he was a thief i think he was just doing what he needed to do and be done with it. I also think he kinda liked Rudy and Liesel deep down but didn’t want to show it. I think that this was valuable beauty in the story.

  9. I agree with Amanda when she says Liesel and Rudy had a love connection from the beginning of the book. I think the love was there but Liesel didn’t realize it until it was too late. I think an example of beauty in this story was that, despite their hopeless situation, Liesel and Rudy found love.

  10. I thought when Rosa was lying on the floor where the LSE had placed her dead body, and Liesel was sitting beside her squeezing her hand and talking to her was a beautiful moment. Liesel referred to her mothers beauty, when sitting at the edge of the with the accordion hanging from her neck as she slouched. My favorite part of the book although it was sad, it was a beautiful moment when Leisel almost couldn’t bare looking at her papa, Hans, she asked for the accordion and then payed it beside him. Liesel couldn’t say good bye to her papa, she just couldn’t not yet.

  11. I think one of the most beautiful relationships in “The Book Thief” was the relationship between Max and Liesel. Liesel was a german girl and Max was a Jewish man. If you look at the facts you would never think they could become friends but they did. Liesel and Max bonded over the fact that they both had nightmares and they would talk about that. Even though Papa helped Liesel with her nightmares, I think Max helped even more because he knew what she was going through. Then on one Thursday Liesel saw a newspaper and brought home to Max because she thought he would enjoy reading it. I thought this showed how much Liesel was thinking about Max and how much she cared for him. Something that showed Liesel how much Max cared for her was when he gave her “The Standover Man”. A birthday present was not expected of Max but I think because of the bond that Max shared with Liesel, he felt it was necessary. I think Liesel brought light into Max’s dark life, but she also brought hope.

    • I agree with Maggie, Max an Liesel were very close and Liesel was always there for him when he was not feeling well and I bet Max would do the same if he was well. Liesel did everything to comfort max and make him feel like he was home. Maggie brings up great points about Max and Liesels relationship.

  12. There were many parts in the story that were very touching. I think one thing that helped me to block out the “ugliness” was how innocent Liesel was. I really liked when she was reading to the people in the cellar during the bombing. Max was very kind and never complained about the way his life was playing out. I was so sweet when he gave Liesel the book he wrote. I liked Hans Hubermann the best out of all the characters. It was nice to see someone who was so hopeful and optimistic for the future even though he had to deal with the stress of hiding a Jew. He was always willing to help someone out no matter the consequences to himself. For example when he gave the starving jew a piece of bread, how he would get up ever night with Liesel and play her music and read with her, and how he selflessly took in Max even though he knew it could mean getting in huge trouble with the Nazi Party or even killed.

  13. One of the most beautiful relationships in the “The Book Thief” is the one between Hans and Liesel. Hans was one of the best dads ever because no matter what time or where he was, he was always there for Liesel. He truly loved her and Liesel felt the exact same way about him even though they were not biologically related. When she had a problem he knew just the thing to say to make her feel better. When Liesel had a nightmare he would comfort her and stay with her until she fell asleep. They really cared for each other, which was very beautiful and sweet.

  14. I believe that Rudy and Liesel had an amazing relationship. They both were always there for each other and did a lot of things together throughout the book. For example they would always play soccer together and they would both steal things such as books and food. Liesel did not live during an easy time. she lost her brother her mom and she had to start over. during these hard times I was glad she made a friend, someone she could be with because without Rudy she would have been really lonely and bored. Rudy told her about soccer and was with her at school. Rudy was a good friend to Liesel and I believe they had a great relationship.

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