Thursday, 29 August 2013

Recap of Code Name Verity and The Book thief

The theme for the March Grown-up-Read YA Book club was WWII books. We looked at Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein and The Book thief by Markus Zusak.

It was agreed that whilst the two books were set in World War II they had very different themes. Code Name Verity is the story of a friendship between two young English women who are enlisted into the RAF during WWII. One is a spy who is captured by the Germans and the other is her pilot. The Book Thief is set in Germany and is narrated by Death whilst It follows a young girl who steals books.

The thoughts were:

On Code Name Verity
  • The narrator's voice was out of sync with the time period and most felt that some of the dialogue was not in keeping with 1940s England.
  • Some readers struggled with the first part as Verity was almost blasé about her experience and it was difficult to empathise with her. However when readers came to the second part of the novel her attitude made more sense.
  • Some readers thought the plot was clever with some good twists and turns and there were some unexpected elements in the book.
  • Issues of class and gender came up in that female pilots and spies are rarely featured in WWII stories. Also it was noted that wartime Britain brought together two women of differing classes.
  • There was speculation that the friendship between Verity and Kittyhawk was more than platonic.
  • Overall there were mixed reviews of the book.
On The Book Thief
  • This was the favourite of the two books due to its complexity and powerful story telling.
  • Whilst there were some very tragic parts it was generally agreed that there was good use of humour as well.
  • The group agreed that the narration was strong, that the reader connected with the characters immediately and that it was beautifully written.
  • Most liked the insight into what it was like for Germans during WWII. The group agreed that the novel highlighted the complexity of how Jews were treated by the Germans and the novel avoided the black and white treatment of the Jews during WWII.
  • The use of symbolism and colour in the novel was liked by some of the group.
  • The group loved the evolving friendship between Liesel and Max as well as her friendship with Rudy.
  • The discussion concluded on who Liesel married and settled with in her later years but it remained inconclusive as to who that he was.
  • Overall the group loved this book.

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