Review: The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Review: The Book Thief – Markus ZusakThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Published by Alfred A. Knopf
Published: 2005
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three-half-stars

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.

So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

thoughts1 I’ve wanted to read The Book Thief for a while but I was pretty scared of it. I mean everyone seems to love this book. Really, really love this book. So I was very nervous. I bought it back in 2013 and basically it just sat on my Kindle untouched. That’s until Rachel picked it for my May Epic Rec read and I can now thank her for that. Was it my favorite book? No. But it was a really powerful, truthful book about a really bad part of history. There were a lot of pages and some slow moments, but all in all a great story with a really good main character.

It’s hard to really explain what The Book Thief is about. Everyone pretty much knows what was happening in Nazi Germany in the 1940s. We’ve all had the history lessons and have seen the movies and read the books. It was an awful time where a lot of lives were lost. On the surface one would think The Book Thief is just another to add to the pile. But it wasn’t. The Book Thief was a really unique way to tell a familiar story.

I think what made the story unique and special was the voice of the narrator. I really enjoyed the voice and ability the author had to show more by using the voice they did. Seeing the book thief Liesel through another person’s eyes added a level to the story that made it stand out. The narrator was definitely not a character I’ve run into in a lot of books but it fit for this book.

I also really liked Liesel. She was so young and had been through so much. She saw death and pain and hate. She was left and loved and disliked. She had so much against her yet she was strong and resilient. The things she went through were things no one should have to go through and yet Liesel kept going. She not only kept going but she stood up for herself and didn’t let anyone walk all over her. But she also knew when to keep quiet. She was a pretty special character and will stay with me for a while.

The reason I didn’t rate this higher was the fact that it was slow moving at times with a lot of pages. Don’t get me wrong, that isn’t a bad thing, it just made reading the book a little daunting. But I pushed through and I’m glad I did. The Book Thief broke my heart in a unique way but also left me feeling that everything happens for a reason both good and bad. So I say thank you again Rachel for making me get over my fear and to take this journey. What a book journey it was.

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