Saturday, July 13, 2013

Book Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Title: The Book Thief 
Author: Markus Zusak
Pages: 576 (Paperback)
Reason for Reading: Personal Interest
Synopsis: It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.By her brother's graveside, Liesel Meminger's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Grave Digger's Handbook, left 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 accordion-[laying 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 Jew in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up and closed down.
I'm just going to come right out with it. No words could possibly explain how much I love this book. After I finished it, I did not want to start a new one because no book felt worthy to follow it, and I did not want to lose the feeling it had left me with.

Our lovely narrator, Death, is different, clever, and does just enough to lighten the narration of so traumatic a time in history without taking away from the pain and sadness. His narration is unlike anything I have ever read, and the style is one that gives you the need to keep reading even in the times when not a whole lot is going on plot wise.

The relationship between Liesel and the other characters in the book, which is of course one of the main focuses of the story, are so raw and real. Some people you will hate, others you will love, but none of them are 2-dimensional. I felt as if I could walk down Himmel Street and recognize each and every one of them. Her friendship with Rudy never feels forced. Her complex relationship with her foster parents is both difficult and endearing to watch. And, my personal favorite, the relationship she forms with the Jew her family hides in their basement is so beautiful it brought me to tears over and over again. 

The Book Thief is a beautiful story of family, love, and friendship. It is a tale that reminds us just how powerful words truly are, and just how much books enrich the lives of those who read them. You will laugh at times and cry your eyes out at others, but I assure you, you will not be disappointed.


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