Monday, April 13, 2015

Book Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

On a list of things that took me way too long to get around to reading is this lovely book. I heard much praise surrounding the Book Thief and upon the release of the movie, I decided I probably should finally take it on. I did. And there were tears. Copious… copious tears.

The Plot- HERE IS A SMALL FACT - YOU ARE GOING TO DIE

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.

Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION - THIS NOVEL IS NARRATED BY DEATH

It's a small story, about:

a girl

an accordionist

some fanatical Germans

a Jewish fist fighter

and quite a lot of thievery.

ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW - DEATH WILL VISIT THE BOOK THIEF THREE TIMES (Summary according to Goodreads)

The Characters- There are so many memorable characters in this book. Liesel is strong and plucky, but none the less a child and it is fascinating to see her navigate the struggles of growing up in Nazi Germany. Her adopted father is friendly, funny and tremendously likable, her close friend is a combination charming and sad, her mother is stern but likable and the Jewish fist fighter, Max, is a testament to human strength and will to survive. I adore all of these characters and how Liesel interacts with them. But perhaps my favorite character is the narrator, Death himself. The way Death is characterized, as an overworked entity with occasional profound insight or quip, is brilliant. I love Death. I feel bad for him, honestly. And it’s such a fresh perspective that makes the story wholly unique. A+ for an interesting angle!

The Good Points- This story has a very unconventional structure, but it works quite well. It gives the grand and small scale of the war, being versatile enough to jump heads, hone in on characters and show us the massive tragedy all at the same time. The characters are what drive this book, as the plot revolves around their interactions. However, I must say, the very concept of a book thief during Nazi Germany is genius. The story was also full of genuine emotions and it is one of the few books to make me cry. Not just cry. I sobbed at the end. It was a bucket of feels I wasn’t prepared for. And any book that can make me feel gets massive points.

The Bad Points- There aren’t many bad points. The disjointed way of telling the story may or may not work for you but it will all be a matter of opinion. And in my personal opinion there are nearly no bad points to speak of.


The Book Thief is an emotionally honest book, charming and devastating all at once. I’d recommend it highly to any of those in the small group who have not read this book. Its likely you already have but if that’s the case, reread it. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.

Final Rating- 5/5 stars

1 comment:

  1. What was your final rating? I give it 5 of 5 stars! :)

    ReplyDelete