TITLE: The Book Thief
AUTHOR: Markus Zusak
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
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It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel 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 before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
You know a book is good when you’re willing to sacrifice time at the happiest place on Earth (Disney World) to read it. That’s exactly what I did with The Book Thief. Yep, I willingly read it while I was at Disney. It was that good.
The Book Thief is far from your typical historical fiction novel set during the Holocaust. After all, Death has some interesting viewpoints and he is not your usual storyteller. I loved reading the novel from Death’s point of view. It was almost a bit like it was written in the third person, but with extra goodies, such as foreshadowing and additional thoughts. The Death’s input and voice made a unique story even more special.
And the characters! Oh, the characters! Where do I start? They were all so well written and three dimensional, another aspect of the book that makes it stand out. Usually, only the main character is very well developed, but in The Book Thief, all the characters that had a role in the story were. I loved Liesel’s innocence (and love of books), Hans and his courage, Rudy’s friendship with Liesel. They are all the type of characters you start to miss once you finish reading the story.
The Book Thief was filled with beautiful writing. It flowed well and also broke my heart. The Book Thief was very good at hitting my weak spots. The spots that kept me turning the pages. The spot that made me keep reading it, even as I started to ugly cry, even though I was in public, on a plane filled with my classmates. I almost shouted “WHY! WHY! WHY!” and “NO! NO! NO!” as we flew back home from Florida before I remembered that I still had to see these people for another three months.
With its unique story and storyteller, well-developed characters, and beautiful writing, The Book Thief has won a place in my heart. It will forever be one of my favorite books and the only one I am willing to read at Disney World.