Monday, October 21, 2013

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Genre:  YA Historical Fiction

Description (taken from Goodreads):
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.

So different from my normal reading genre.  And we know right from the get-go that it's going to be a sad one.  This book is from Death's point of view, and he's quite a busy guy during this time.  And one thing that's a little hard to get used to is this book is told as a story not from beginning to end.  Some things are going to remind Death of something that happens later, and he brings it up now and then moves on with the story.  You quickly get used to it.

We see the poor in Germany trying to scrape by.  Hitler has become a figure to look up to.  He represents prosperity, pride, and nationalism.  Only he's also willing to blame everyone he dislikes for everyone's problems.  We see all of this from Liesel's point of view.  And it's depressing, but there's still hope.  We watch some people do nothing while others are tortured, but we also see courage when others step up and try to help.  Just read it to get the plot...

So I have to describe this book with an analogy.  Imagine someone pointing out the window.  You know it's there but can't see out of it.  You step closer and begin to see glimpses of the outside.  The blinds are lifted and things become a little clearer.  Your face is up against the window, and you're seeing outside.  Yet when you step outside, it's still so much more.  That's how Death's story of Liesel is told.  We know what's going to happen, but it's still so much more when it does happen.  Now switch "more" with "depressing," and you've got my mood for this book.

I bawled my eyes out.  I count my lucky stars that I am not in that kind of situation.  It's amazing to see those you least expect to have the most courage to stand up for what is right.  And sometimes the "right" side of the war isn't necessarily doing the "right" thing; they can still do evil things for the better good (but it doesn't cancel out the evil).  Agh, I have to stop before I start blabbering and crying.

Yes, go read this one.  I'm excited for the movie now.  I recommend this one for more mature teenagers because it requires an understanding of the time period to really appreciate it.

Challenges:  TBR Pile Reading Challenge


  1. This book has a special place in my heart. I love this book so much that it hurts thinking it ended! So heart-warming and beautifully written. I can't wait for the movie :)

  2. I want to read this one. The Book Thief sounds amazing, but so sad. I hope the movie is good too!


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