Read-Along: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (Part 1 – 3 Discussion)


So, the reading of the first portion of The Book Thief is over! I will admit that when I first started reading this book — this book that seems so highly regarded and recommended from other book bloggers — I was confused. I had NO idea what was going on and found the voice of our main narrator, Death, to be very confusing.

Of course, eventually we latch onto the story of Liesel, which starts to make a lot more sense and is a whole lot less disjointed than the beginning. One thing I do really like so far are the short chapters, but I do have to admit that I haven’t become completely infatuated with this book like other people. I mean, it’s good, it’s very well written, and it’s unique, but it’s very different. Maybe it’s the writing or the narrator (again, Death) but something is still keeping me feeling a little bit separated from the whole story.

When it comes to the characters, I’m torn on whether or not I like Liesel. She seems very typical for a girl her age (though — are we ever told her age? Did I gloss over that?). I think there’s a part of her that doesn’t quite understand what’s going on around her. I think being on the side of the Germans has something to do with that and NOT being on the side of the Jews.

* * * THOUGH, REALLY * * *
when I think about it,
most of my Holocaust reading has been from the POV of the Jews
and not the other way around.
Perhaps another reason I feel the disconnect?

We’re not really told a LOT of the story of Liesel coming to live with Hans and Frau Himmerman — maybe what we’re told is all we really need to know? — but I do like Hans better than I like Rosa.

I do really like Marcus Zusak’s writing. It has a certain symmetry, a certain flow to it. And sections formatted like the above make the reading go by very quick. I mean, there isn’t a lot of flowery description, but we get little passages that are in bold and separated from the rest giving us the basic information. Though, after three sections so far, I’m not entirely sure where the book is going and why Death is focused on Liesel. I mean, I *know* what happens, time-wise, and maybe I’m just impatient, but I just want to know WHAT is happening. You know.

* * * ACTUALLY * * * 
You probably don’t.

Maybe part of me was expecting something different from what I’m getting, or maybe I’m just not totally into the book yet, but I’m liking it still — not loving it. Of course, it *is* a book about World War II and the Holocaust, so I know it’s not going to be totally relateable, nor is it going to be a walk in the park.

So far, it’s sad, it’s strange, and I’m glad that I’ve started reading it. I’m not completely used to the style of writing, or the story itself, but I know that with each part revealed, I’m going to grow more hooked on the story.

For more information on this read-along, or to sign up yourself, visit Suey’s blog!



9 thoughts on “Read-Along: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (Part 1 – 3 Discussion)

  1. I initially felt the same as you when I started to read the book. I found the writing style, writing from the perspective of death, a bit of a barrier in terms of getting into the book. But I did start to get used to it and really enjoyed it by the end of section three! I can definitely feel myself growing more attached to the characters and the story!

  2. I totally get what you are saying. It’s going to be interesting to see if your feelings change as we go along. Reading about this subject from a German’s POV is really different, isn’t it. I love it though. And I love how you did the BOLD thoughts just like our narrator! Fun!

  3. I totally appreciate your point of view. This is my first time reading the story, too. And it’s so different from really anything else I’ve read. Especially ever other WWII book! I think it’s totally ok not to be in love with it. I’ll be interested to see how you feel as it goes along. 🙂

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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