The Book Thief

Words on a page, images on a screen, notes from an instrument.  All of these can be used to tell stories.  In many ways, we live for these stories, because without them, what is there?  Some stories stick with us more than others.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is one of those stories that will stick with me for some time.  I don’t know if I can write words for a review to do this book justice.  This book was wonderful.  It was able to seamlessly weave humor, terror, and the occasional brilliance of human actions all at once.  I loved this book.

550 pages

Stand Alone

Drama (for lack of a better genre definition)

Characters

The book is told from the point of view of Death, yes, that Death (although he is quick to say he doesn’t carry a scythe and only wears a black hood when it’s cold).  While the book is told by Death, and he interjects his thoughts into the story from time to time, the book is about Liesel Meminger.  Liesel is a young girl growing up in Germany during WW2.  When she arrives to live with her foster family, she is scarred by having seen her younger brother die.  While her brother was being buried, she stole a book from the gravediggers, called “The Grave Digger’s Handbook.”  This starts an appreciation of literature that will carry her through the story, once she learns how to read that is.

Setting

A small town called Molching in Germany, the book begins in 1939 with Liesel being 9 years old.

Plot

The book follows Liesel as she experiences life in a small german town during WW2.  Just as she is beginning to get her life somewhat in order, everything is thrown upside down when her father makes good on a promise to an old jewish friend by hiding his son in their basement during the early stages of the war.  As the war continues to spread, its effects begin to hit closer and closer to home, changing Liesel’s life forever.

Enjoyment

This book was amazing, there were times when I didn’t want to read what was going to happen next, but at the same time I had to know.  One thing that I can say about this book is that Zusak doesn’t pull any punches.  The characters are beautifully done and you feel their pain.  I will admit that I started to tear up reading the end of the book, it’s very well done.  The book shows the horrors of war from a very intimate angle.  I can’t do this book justice with my review.  The book reminded me very strongly of the anime Grave of the Fireflies, which is another wonderful work of art that is hard to describe in words.  I can go on for a while longer talking about how I don’t think I can do this book justice, so I’ll stop and just tell you to go read it.

Overall Grade

This book was amazing, and I think everyone should read it.

10/10

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9 Comments

  1. I read this book from my YA Lit class, and I definitely agree that everyone should read it. I was definitely intrigued by the unique viewpoint (who else writes from Death’s perspective?), and quickly fell in love with the story. I also loved the language and descriptions Markus Zusak used.

    I hadn’t considered it before, but your comparison to Grave of the Fireflies is quite apt. 🙂

    Reply
  2. I have heard so many good things about this book and I finally picked up a copy. Thanks for the review.

    Reply
  3. I read this book a couple of months ago and loved it. You’re right — it’s so hard to say anything about this book and do it justice. The ending moved me to tears (literally). Such a fantastic book.

    Reply
  4. This book has become one of my favorites 🙂

    Reply
  5. stacybuckeye

     /  August 17, 2011

    This has been on my wish list for too long. I really must make time for it.

    Reply
    • It’s a fantastic book, I heard about it from another blogger’s review of it and it sounded really interesting, I’m very glad I read it.

      Reply
  6. This book is next on my list! Now I’m even more excited to read it 🙂

    Reply
  7. I’m intrigued. Thanks for the review.

    Reply
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