Book: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
IT IS 1939. NAZI GERMANY. THE COUNTRY IS HOLDING ITS BREATH. DEATH HAS NEVER BEEN BUSIER, AND WILL BECOME BUSIER STILL.
Liesel Meminger and her brother are being taken be their mother to live with a foster family outside Munich. Liesel’s father was taken away on the breath of a single, unfamiliar word – Kommunist – and Liesel sees the fear of a similar fate in her mother’s eyes. On the journey, Death visits the young boy, and notices Liesel. It will be the first of many nearer encounters. By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is “The Gravedigger’s Handbook”, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.
So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.
But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.
“The Book Thief” is a story about the power of words to make worlds. In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
This book comes highly recommended, as most know. There is a tag line for this story that I completely agree with: When Death tells a Story you have to read. This book is compelling in the I-can’t-put-it-down way and the way this book is written makes you want to constantly find out more. Death is something that is often a theme in the book, or a person who goes unseen, popping in and out of shadows every once in a while. If you are acquainted with Japanese work such as Death Note, then death isn’t anything but a lord, with many followers and workers to do his bidding.
There are almost no point of view switches as Death walks through the story. But death, as the blurb says is a very busy person. So there are times when the story skips years and leaves you wondering what went on. But these gaps are filled by reading onwards. Although the characters don’t have their own point of views, each character is fully developed and the personalities are strong. Liesel has a voice and personality that anyone can relate to. A stubbornness that many people associate with themselves and ever-changing view of the world as she matures and learns more.
This book, once again, isn’t gender specific. It’s something that is a must read for all genders. While it definitely isn’t suitable for young readers, those thirteen and above can enjoy and relate to the book and the feelings and sentiments that are shared. It’s a book that I would recommend that most people read.
Rating: 5 stars
–As always, comment below to tell me what you think and whether or not you’ll read it…or have read it–
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