Friday, September 13, 2013

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - 5 stars

It's a small story really, about, among other things:
A girl
Some words
An accordionist
Some fanatical Germans
A Jewish fist fighter
And quite a lot of thievery

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
5 stars

It's taken me awhile to review this book. I've reviewed books after I finished this one and I have to stop and then come back to it. I'm not sure why. I enjoyed this book but this seems to be a hard review.

It feels good, doesn't it?
To steal something back.
I loved this book. This was such a good book. I don't often like non-fantasy books but this was excellent. The Book Thief was set in 1939 during World War II in Germany. The narrator is Death. In the beginning I was confused. I wasn't sure what was going on but then I realized it was Death doing the narrating. He talks about colors a lot. That's the only part I find weird even though it comes across beautifully. Death becomes a secondary narrator as he reads through Liesel's story.

The main character of this story is Liesel. We follow her throughout the years of the world. When we first meet her she's on a train heading for her new foster family with her brother and her mother. Since her mother can no longer take care of them, she has given them up to go to a foster home. While on the train, Liesel's brother dies and they end up burying him. This is the first time Death meets Liesel aka The Book Thief. This is the nickname Death has given her. She picks up a gravedigger's guide on how to properly dig graves. This is the first book she stole. At this point, Liesel doesn't know how to read.

She ends up in Molching, Germany where she is taken in by Hans and Rosa Hubermann. She eventually grows to love these two people who have taken her in like she is their daughter. She calls them Mama and Papa and though she already has a mother, she thinks of them as her parents as well.

Her best friend is Rudy. At first they aren't friends as she is easily annoyed by him. He's always asking for a kiss from her and she is always replying with something close to "hell no!" Rudy is a happy boy who ends up being a great and supportive friend for Liesel, even when she's going through hard times. Rudy takes care of her and watches her back.

Forget the scythe, Goddamn it, I needed
a broom or a mop. And I needed
a vacation
This is Nazi Germany and there are many people in town who are part of the Nazi party and believe in the Fuhrer and his goals. However, there are also people in town who don't but they keep their secret well hidden. Liesel's family is one of those who does not support Hitler but they do not openly oppose him. At one point, to pay back a debt that he owed, Hans takes a Jew named Max into the house. Honestly, how they got him into their house was quite brilliant. Liesel and Max become close friends during the time he spent there.

There is a tie for my favorite character. Rudy is an amazing boy and was extremely well written. But I also loved Hans. He and Liesel learned to read together. Working together she was able to get out of the younger kids' class and joined the class with kids her own age. They spent time learning words from the books Liesel stole and that Hans gotten for her by trading them in for tobacco.

 Words and books have a big impact on Liesel's life. This part of the story resonates with me. I  have always loved reading. The English language is crazy and messed up and often times doesn't make sense but I love it. I've known how to read since Pre-K and I haven't stopped reading. Books can be an escape by they are also an adventure.

There is so much heartache in this book but there is also joy. It's a wonderful roller coaster of emotions. I'm not ashamed to say that I cried at the end of this book even though I knew what was going to happen. We are given spoilers by Death throughout the story but it's only in the end that we find out the details. Talk about dreading the ending. I loved this book and has been placed on my favorites shelf. It fully deserves the 5 stars.


"I am haunted by humans."

"A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship."

"Often I wish this would all be over, Liesel, but then you somehow do something like walk down the basement steps with a snowman in your hands."

"Of course, I'm being rude. I'm spoiling the ending, not only of the entire book, but of this particular piece of it. I have given you two events in advance, because I don't have much interest in building mystery. Mystery bores me. It chores me. I know what happens and so do you. It's the machinations that wheel us there that aggravate, perplex, interest, and astound me. There are many things to think of. There is much story."

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