Book Thief, The

Markus Zusak
It’s just 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. . . .Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel 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 before he is marched to Dachau.This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2020-07-31

It's been a while since I've read a book like this. It's beautifully written with excellent character development, which inevitably results in its reader becoming invested in this story from the very beginning. Throughout the novel, I felt as if I was walking alongside Leisel, living under the same roof of Mama, Papa, and sometimes Max. I felt like Rudy was my neighbor, best friend, and first love, too. Because the novel was so well-written, I felt as if I was seeing the world through Leisel's eyes, which I feel is really important for this story in particular. Zusak allowing me to see the world through Leisel's eyes allowed me to see the world through the eyes of a young girl living in Nazi Germany during WWII. I feel as if I have a slightly better understanding of the complexity of this time in history, which reminded me of the beauty of reading. When you read, you are taking on the perspective of those you're reading about, or those narrating the story, and I think that's so incredibly powerful. As I said in the beginning, it's been a while since I've read a book like this, and I mean that. I even hugged it after I read it because I just felt an overwhelming sense of love for the story and the characters in it. It was heartwrenching and tragic, but this will be a story that sticks with me for a long, long time. 

 

(Lots of foreshadowing, the narrator is "death")

Reviewed: 2020-07-02

This book made me cry, sob, cheer, and all-out break down. The writing was fantastic. The book could have had no plot and I still would have loved it, it was so well written. But it had plot. Oh, it had plot. I jumped late on the Book Thief train, so I'm not sure how many of you have read it. With that in mind, I will try my hardest to make this as non-spoilery as possible. Just thinking about this book makes me want to cry all over again. For those wondering why, it is a holocaust story that takes place in Germany. I generally try to avoid holocaust stories, because I know that they will make me cry, yet I picked this one up. Why? Well, when I was in the theatre about to see City of Bones for the second time, my friend and I saw the trailer for the movie adaptation of The Book Thief. We both looked at each-other and mouthed "I need to read this." I started the book and couldn't stop. Despite the tears and the heartbreak, I recommend this book to EVERYONE!!!!

The main character is Liesel. She's a younger German girl who is adopted after her mother gives her up because she can't take care of her anymore. Liesel starts the book at about ten years old. At the beginning, Liesel is an innocent and slightly naive girl. Yet here's the catch, the story is narrated by Death, not Liesel. Death will skip around and mention things that happen years ahead of what's going on. When the story begins, Death is telling the reader that he sees Liesel, whom he calls the Book Thief, three times. First, when her brother dies. Second, when a pilot crashes. And third, when the street she lives on is bombed. How Death knows her story is explained in bits and pieces. How he knows it is yet another sad aspect of the book. After Liesel's father teaches her how to read, she begins to steal books. This eventually earns her the nickname The Book Thief from characters who know of her actions. Other characters include Rudy, who is the male protagonist and Liesel's best friend. He is a character that I enjoyed tremendously. Liesel's adoptive father Hans is spectacular and her adoptive mother Rosa is easily the most hilarious character in the book. Max is a Jew who hides in their basement for a period of time. I love him so much, but do not envy what he's been through.

This book is not for the faint of heart. Though I think just about anyone could enjoy it, it drives the readers' emotions to the breaking point. I had my doubts about the book, but I was gripped from page one. It's a read that you will not regret nor forget. It's very long, which can look daunting, but it's not as long as it looks when your in the midst of WW2. Events are constantly skipping back and forth, making skimming the book near impossible. More often then not, one line or one paragraph are more important than the entire chapter as a whole. I recommend this book from the bottom of my heart and, once you're done, we can sob with our "In Case of Feels" tissue boxes together.

Reviewed: 2020-02-08

Liesel Meminger haunts me. Death telling this story of a young girl in the middle of a war. Hans, Rosa, Rudy and Max the Jewish boxer in the basement. I can't forget them, I love them. This story isn't about WWII or Hitler, it's about people and love and kindness and loss. Hans with his hand rolled cigarettes and accordion heart, Max with his words, Rosa the thunder cloud, and Rudy, the boy with the hair the color of lemons.

Reviewed: 2019-11-07

The book started off as slow for me (as a lot of books do) but then picked up a little speed in the middle. Midway through I became interested in the story and characters, instead of just reading because I had started reading it and had to finish. By the last 50 to 100 pages I was blown away, moved to tears, and forever haunted ... the ending makes the book worth the read!

Reviewed: 2019-08-15
One of the best Holocaust books I’ve read because it so poetically yet honestly portrays the truth of what occurred. This book is heart-wrenching in the right ways because it speaks to humanity’s fraility, strength, and dignity. Read. Read. Read.
Reviewed: 2019-01-02
This is still one of my favorite books, even though I haven't read it since 8th grade! It's terribly heart wrenching... But that's what makes it amazing!
Reviewed: 2018-07-30

This book devastated me. I just finished it and I've spent the last half hour trying to read between tears. 

Going into this book I knew only a little, Germany during World War II, a young girl, books and a Jew. This book though... The use of language, the imagery is simply gorgeous. It's heart breaking in so many ways and yet, gives such hope in the goodness of people. Lisel and Rudy will join Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe and Emily and Teddy as perfect child couples. 

I've just finished this book, still wiping the tears from my eyes and I know that I will return to this book in the next couple of years. This book is damned near perfect. I love it!

Reviewed: 2018-06-28
Depressing, heartfelt, amazing.❤️.....and there’s Rudy.
Reviewed: 2018-02-24
I have a coworker who knew I was reading this and when I mentioned I was done with the book he asked me how I liked it. "It was good; but..." I said and he smiled and agreed. 
 
There are places where the book is fantastic, haunting, and extremely well written. The words mesmerize and the text flows. You are placed in a this odd place of sorta following the Grim Reaper as he collects souls and becomes enamored with Liesel. The ending you're flipping pages determined to find out what happens-to Liesel, her parents, Max, and Rudy.
 
Then there's the middle. I can't begin to imagine how to tell this tale in the middle of WWII in Germany and yet make life somewhat normal. This is a story of Liesel and her young teen years. There's air raids, rations, and the lack of books but there's growing up, dealing with bullies, secrets, and pettiness of those years. How do you make the story compelling without much happening and yet everything happening?
 
Well, Zusak sorta figures that. However, the middle is where I got bogged down and was moving at glacier speed. 
 
So, would I recommend it? If you've heard about the book and are interested, give it a shot. I can't jump up and down and say it's fantastic but it's a really solid, well written book. Overall, I am glad I picked it up and stayed with it to the end.
Reviewed: 2017-02-22

The Book Thief tells the story of the other side of Germany during Word War II, showing readers that war and suffering affects everyone.

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