Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Book Thief

World War II. An event the "Greatest Generation" does not like to talk about. A momment in time where some people gave in to the fear and hate, but some people did not. It breaks my heart to read of the inhumane events that took place during that time, but I am fascinated by the true life stories of those who have risen from the ashes.
To be a Jew at that words can express the sorrow. This book touches on what it was like to be a Jew from the start to the finish. It also talks about what it was like to be a German during the war, a story no one has ever told me before. The German families were given the choice to support the Fuhrer or die like the Jews. Hitler convinced an entire nation to willingly allow human suffering on such a vast scale. Those who tried to resist like Hans and Alex, were recruited and made to serve as soldiers for a cause they didn't believe in. This is a tale of the Jew, but it is also the tale of the German. Not the German consumed with hate and burning, but the German that is consumed with fear and sorrow.

This book is about the power of words. The words that took down a world. The words that took down neighborhoods. The words that took down families. "It's a burning testament to how words can overcome adversity, but also to how they have in extreme circumstances been used to create fanatic hatred. It's about the tragedy of what happens to the human soul when the power to express or write words is taken away from it. It shows that whilst words are an inspiring force in translating feelings, and in expressing the inexpressible, they can also destroy the very things that we hold most dear. They help us to survive and to endure the loss of those that don't."

Which leads me to my next thought: survivors guilt. "To live. Living was living. The price was guilt and shame." (pg 227) There are many examples of this in the book. Rudy's father, Hans, Robert, Max. "When they come and ask you for one of your children,'re supposed to say yes." (pg 446)

Zusak has written this book from Death's point of view. He took words (death, war, and sorrow) and painted them in such a way that you could smell it, taste it, touch it, and see it. "For me, the sky was the colour of Jews. When their bodies had finished scouring for gaps in the door, their souls rose up. their fingernails had scratched the wood and in some cases were nailed into it by the sheer force of desperation, and their spirits came towards me, into my arms. We climbed out of those shower facilities, onto the roof and up, into eternity's certain breadth. They just kept feeding me. Minute after minute. Shower after shower." (pg 372)

This book is one I recommend to anyone, children, young adults, adults. This is a book that will open your eyes to the power of words and the power of love.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hotel for Dogs

I am trying to figure out when I became an 'animal lover'. This is not something that I was raised to be. I was taught by my dad to respect animals and coexist with them, I was taught by my many cousins and friends to be terrified of them, but there was never the heart melting and wanting to hold them in my childhood, youth, or young adult life.
We have seen 2 movies this winter that have really got me thinking. And when people ask me if it they were good movies, I think about whether these people like dogs or not in order to answer them.
First was 'Marley and Me' Of course, Marley reminded us of Shrute our yellow lab (who lives with Kimmy now) and we cried because we miss him so much (I know...why would we miss the destructive, depressed, ADHD dog?) And when he dies in the end...well it was a blubbering mess of tears for our family! (I previously posted about a book I read that also messed with my dog Psyche) Then this past weekend we went to see "Hotels for Dogs".
One of the lead actors was a Boston Terrier and we all OHHHHHed and AHHHHHed that it looked just like Charlie our little Boston. There were many homeless, ugly, dirty dogs in this movie and we laughed at some of them. But for the most part as each new dog was introduced there was a collective "OHHHHH he is so cute" from my kids. And in the credits there were pictures of the crew with their animals, we could not pull our kids away until it was done. And I will admit I was also glued to the screen! Again, when did this happen?? I love Charlie and would be devastated if we lost him or he died. My mother-in-law even said, "I have grown quite fond of Charlie."
And it is not just my dogs, but it runs into Hunter's hamster, Squirmy, that I love and take care of, the other 3 hamsters we had over the summer (Phillip Johnny Bob, Optimus Prime, and Pigeon Larry), my friends' agoraphobic dog Chloe, racist dog Reeda, and the rare kangaroo Marley. This concept is baffling to me, I am an animal I didn't see this coming! (This does not mean Hayden is getting a King Cobra-don't worry!)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Eyelashes of Death

It is official, my sister thinks I am crazy...and I may be, but I will let you be the judge. I have been trying every way possible to get my eyelashes and my glasses to be friends for 9 months now. But to no avail! They refuse to play nice, which leads me to much blinking, tearing eyes, and constantly adjusting and readjusting my glasses. I have had rage for quite a while and Thursday morning was the last straw! I called my sister and asked her to trim my eyelashes. She was really quiet on the other end and I said, "are you there?" She made a strangled noise then said "Uhhh, what? Your eyelashes? I don't know if I can." But unfortunately for her I was already parked in her drive way and walking up to her front door. She opened the door and laughed as she walked down to her salon. She picked up her scissors and comb and approached me with a look of frightened confusion. In the end we laughed as she trimmed and when I put my glasses on I was so happy I could have kissed her (Skee that was for you!) I can now wear my glasses and I even forget they are on! I love the new eyelash length and love that my sister accepts me for the crazy person I am!
PS these pictures are of Hayden's eyelashes...No one has it as bad and good as him! And I couldn't take ones of myself...

Sailor Poem #2

While cooking dinner the other night, I noticed the sunset and ran out to capture it. The kids were so so so excited that the storms would be at an end (at least according to the Sailor poem). Unfortunately 3 hours later the torrential snow blizzard of the century hit and Hunter told me my poem was a lie! Curse those sailors!