The book thief

Posted March 05, 2011

The book thief

As a child I was completely hooked on The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. My small country primary school had the full set and I spent every break devouring one book after the other. I was about to start the seventh and final book in the collection when school broke up for the summer. What was I to do?

In the end I ‘borrowed’ The Last Battle from the school library, ignoring the “do not remove” warning indelibly stamped on the inside cover. I sneaked the book home in my satchel and hid it under my mattress. Every night I spent hours reading the book in secret, frantic to find out how the story would end.

Not well, as it turned out - the talking unicorn snuffs it! Alright, so he passes into a better Narnia which is taken to represent heaven but I was left utterly inconsolable. I absolutely adored that unicorn and I grieved for it, as only a child could, all summer long. But because I had nicked the book I couldn’t ever reveal what had upset me so much.

Tonight a million books are being given away in book shops, libraries and cafes throughout the country. I can’t return The Last Battle (yes, I’ve kept it all these years) to my former primary school as it has since been demolished. What am I to do?

Perhaps, in the spirit of World Book Night, I can slip it on to one of the shelves of my local library. Only then will I finally salve my conscience.

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