Title: The Book Thief
Author: Marcus Zusak
Date(s) read: September 2 – 29, 2013
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Source: Purchased (Paperback)
The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that will be in movie theaters on November 15, 2013, Markus Zusak’s unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul.
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
There are so many books that everone loves that I have NO idea about. It’s one thing to not read books based on the hype, but it’s another to know that a book should be super good and just let it slip under your radar. The Book Thief is a book that has been on my shelf for QUITE some time. I knew that it was about Nazi Germany and that it was told from the point of view of Death, but I think I had gone so long not being in the mood to read a book like that that it just got ignored. Thank goodness for read-alongs or I may never have picked this gem up!
I will admit that when I first started reading this, I was a bit confused. The book, like I mentioned, is told from the point of view of Death, which can be a very confusing perspective to follow. In the beginning, it’s a little more scattered than I would’ve liked and I had a hard time really connecting with the narrator. Of course, is it really natural to connect with your narrator when it’s Death? Probably not.
At any rate, eventually the story starts to gain momentum in the story of Liesl, also known as the book thief throughout the story. Liesl was a great character. I loved seeing her grow as the story went along. In the beginning, she really is a naive little girl who has no idea about what’s going on around her. You can say that in a way Rosa and Hans, her foster family, saved her and really showed her not only what life in Germany really is about, but they also let her character grow. Rather than keeping her sheltered, they still lived — despite what might have been going on outside. And they showed her compassion.
I loved Hans. Hands down, he’s my favourite character of the book. Rosa took some getting used to. In the beginning she is a very hard character, which made it very difficult to like her. But eventually her softer side is shown and I loved that. Not only do we have Rosa and Hans, but we have Liesl’s friend, Rudy. Rudy was a great companion to Liesl — I liked him a lot!
The strange thing about this book is that we know what will happen because Death likes to give us a head’s up. We don’t really know when things will happen, but it was really different to be told, say, of someone’s last days way before it’s about to happen.
The writing style was different, but I grew to like it. There are thoughts and explanations that are told by being bolded with asteriks throughout the story. They were kind of like an aside. I wasn’t a fan at first, but grew to like them. The book I had also had illustrations in it, which means the book really should be read (even though the audio might be interesting to listen to as a reread).
This really was a great book, though I can’t say that I fell completely in love with it like other readers. I thought it was a wonderful telling of what happened at that time and it was interesting that the story was told about a German girl, since a lot of the stories I’ve read about this time are told from the Jewish side. In the end, the story was completely beautiful, powerful, and I would say it’s a necessary read for people.