Monday, 28 July 2014

The Book Thief ~ A Review

This is a fairly thick book, but it didn't take me longer than two days to read it. It was gripping, wonderfully written, and very sad. If you haven't read it yet:
It's the story of Liesel Meminger, a young German girl who goes to live with foster parents during WWII. She can't read or write so she is embarrassed at school. At night she has terrible dreams about her dead brother. At his grave she had stolen a book. She couldn't read one word of it, until her kindly foster father teaches her. Liesel does make some friends: her foster mother, though prickly and irritable, does love her. Rudolf (Rudy) Steiner, a cheeky and athletic boy from a large family. The mayor's wife, who stays in her house and avoids the outside world. The house has a library in it. Liesel's next act of book thievery occurrs there. As the narrator ( Death) admits, quite a lot of stealing goes on. Liesel feels guilty whenever she steals a book. Her foster parents, the Hubermanns, end up hiding a Jewish fist-fighter, Max vandenBurg, who becomes Liesel's close friend. They share their dreams and stories. 
None of them can escape the war, however. Jewish prisoners are marched through the streets. Liesel and Rudy both see their fathers leave to fight. At night there are air-raid drills.
The ending is tragic. I will say no more.
I loved Zusak's use of words and imagery. (Warning: a lot of coarse language and blasphemy, I'm sorry to say. Could have done without that.)The story is carefully structured and full of surprises. This is a story that will stay with you long after you've finished reading it.
Have you read The Book Thief? What are your thoughts on it?


  1. I LOVE 'The Book Thief'!
    At first it seems weird that Death is the narrator, but once you get past that I love the characters.
    The ending made me cry a lot. Actually, I was crying well before the ending. Probably because Death talks about carrying away all the souls.
    I liked the way that each character had a distinct personality, even some that barely have anything to do with the story at all.
    I also found it really interesting to read about the war from the other side. Normally you only read books from the Allies point of view, but it was shocking when I realised half way through that the ones bombing them were US. Weird to think of your own side as being the enemy.
    Have you seen the film?
    I liked your review. :)

  2. High five!! Argh it made me cry sooo much. The narrator is a bit weird, but as he himself says, he is not malicious. He is a result. He's not gruesome or creepy or anything.
    I know!! In a war, both sides do terrible things. It's sad.
    I haven't seen the movie yet but I would love to!!
    Thanks! I saw your review on your blog, it encouraged me to read The Book Thief!