The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: Mar. 14, 2006
Page Count: 552
Source: My bookshelf
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who 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.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time
Review: If I'm being honest, this book sat on my bookshelf (both my physical and my TBR) for quite some time. And by that I mean, several years. This book was released and BIG when I was in high school. When I saw it at the bookstore I loved the synopsis and purchased it, and on the bookshelf it went. It was nothing against the book, of course. In high school reading was not at the top of my list because I was tired of being forced to read books for class. In college, my books stayed at home because apparently I had enough other stuff to shove in the car and drive three hours with. It was not until recently that it was being talked about again; I guess that happens before a movie comes out. I knew I had the book, and I decided to finally pick it up and read it. Boy, am I mad at myself for waiting so long to read this one. It was amazing. So devastating, but beautifully written. I fell in love with it quite quickly.
The narration was what captured me from the beginning. If you have read the book, or have heard anything about it, then you know that the book is actually narrated by death. This was amazing to me. So original and revealing. I think that it certainly did a lot to add to the story. Death had you scared constantly for the character, then he would say something like "but it was not my time to take them...not yet," and it would have you reading on and even more worried. That is the mark of a good author and narrator though, right? That they make you want to keep reading; that you have to keep reading.
Let me also take a moment to discuss my love for historical fiction. I do not read it much because I think that it is a difficult genre to get right, and I have read some books that have been really poorly done. I do enjoy history, and I know quite a bit about the Holocaust period as I did a lot of research into it, horrified that it had actually happened. I believe that Zusak did a wonderful job of bringing in the correct history, and giving the readers an idea of just how bad it had been. Zusak did a lot of things very well in this book.
Now, onto the characters, shall we? Liesel was amazing. She fell in love with books and stole them, after all, a girl after my own heart! (I swear I don't steal books, but I would have done the same in her position. You get where I'm coming from!). She was an amazing young character, someone who went through so much herself, but still wanted to stand up for others when they were being treated unfairly. That is not something that you will find in a lot of people to begin with, so it is even more shocking when it is a child. Of course, she had a wonderful supporting cast with Hans Hubermann being so loving and teaching her how to read, Rosa Hubermann loving her in a completely different way, and Rudy always tagging along and begging for kisses. I fell in love with all of the characters, which is a serious mark of a very good book.
The ending. Oh the ending. I will not give any spoilers, as I always try very hard not to do that. I cried like a baby though. Sobbed would probably be a better term for it. I suppose I expected as much with knowing the time period and the history of what happened then, but it was still incredibly difficult. Despite the sad ending, I believe that this is a book that everyone should read. Not only does it give the look into history, but so many other moral issues that are so important to our world today, and probably always will be. Yup, this was a great one, and I highly recommend it.