The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Published: March 14, 2006 by Knopf
Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she discovers something she can't resist- books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever they are to be found.
With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel 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.
This is a book that I've seen around for awhile, and that has never had a bad review, and that I avoided for awhile because it sounded so heavy and sad. I really enjoyed the 1st Markus Zusak book that I read not too long ago, I Am The Messenger (really really seriously enjoyed it), and I think that he just has a great voice. The Book Thief is an amazing book, but it's the kind of book that is hard to enjoy because of the subject matter. But if you've been thinking about reading it and just haven't done it yet, you should definitely pick it up and prepare for a story that's very different from most of the other books out there. (It's different in a good way!)
Why I love this book:
- Hans- Hans is a great man. He became my favorite character the moment Liesel met him. Hans is a man of little dialogue and lots of accordion playing, yet he willingly risks his life for Max and rarely questions the enormity of that decision.
- Rudy- There is something so wonderful about reading a story where a boy and girl can just be best friends and never question it because it's just a fact of their lives. I love Rudy's antics, his quests for food, and his constant search for a way to earn a kiss from Liesel. Although this is a story where many people die, I wasn't concerned until any time Rudy was in danger. He brings much needed humor both to Liesel and to this book.
- Max's books- The books that Max writes and illustrates for Liesel are raw and beautiful. I loved seeing the simple drawings over the painted-over words of "Mein Kampf." The stories highlight what this book really drove home for me- words are powerful.
- pace- This book is different partially because it takes place over such a long period of time in Liesel's life. We see her over the span of a few years while she is growing up and learning about reality and life, rather than over a few days or weeks like most of the paranormal books taking over the shelves.
- plot- Before you get upset, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with the plot. It's just that this book is so different from most. It's beautifully written and enthralling, yet it's horrible. I enjoyed it like I enjoyed the Schindler's List movie- which is to say not at all, but it is a book destined to be a classic because it deserves to be one just like Schindler's List. The only thing wrong with it is that you wish the circumstances surrounding the plot had never happened. In case I'm not explaining clearly, I loved the book but its contents are as heavy as they are amazing.
- If you were being flippant about it, you'd say that all it took was a little bit of fire, really, and some human shouting to go with it. You'd say that was all Liesel Meminger needed to apprehend her second stolen book, even if it smoked in her hands. Even if it lit her ribs. - pg. 83
- As she turned them, the pages were noisy, like static around the written story. "Three days, they told me...and what did I find when I woke up?" There were the erased pages of Mein Kampf, gagging, suffocating under the paint as they turned. - pg. 237
This is a truly amazing book, one that everyone should read if they have the chance, and my review will never do it justice.
Acquired: Swapped for on swap.com