Monday, March 18, 2013

Book Review: The Book Thief


From goodreads:

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....

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 encounters 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 an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.


My Thoughts:
This was captivating, breathtaking, beautiful, and heart-wrenching all at the same time. It offers a perspective of Nazi Germany than we don't usually get. The book is narrated by Death. The main character who's story we follow is Leisl Meminger: one of the best characters I've encountered in a book in a long time. You couldn't help but lover her, and feel for her every step of the way. I felt for her foster parents, particularly her foster father with whom she has a very close relationship. I felt for the jewish man they hid in their basement for over 2 years. I felt for Leisl's best friend, Rudy, (who the author says was his favorite character) who looks after and loves Leisl from a very young age. The mayor's wife, who allows Leisl to take books from her library during the war, and who gives her the blank book to write her own story, which ultimately becomes the most important book of all. One of the things I disliked about Gone Girl, and Where did you Go, Bernadette, was that I didn't "like" the main characters, and I didn't sympathize with them. I liked every single character in this book, even Death!

I don't ever cry when I read a book: Not that they don't tug at my heartstrings, but it's different for me to read something sad than to see it played out in front of me in either real life, or a movie. So I didn't cry reading this book, but I imagined some of the scenes played out in my head, and I would most certainly cry watching this as a movie.

At the end of the book, Death says "I am haunted by humans." He talks about how haunted he is that humans can do the vicious things they do to each other, particularly in Nazi Germany. Death had a hard job: he was constantly working, and had to be everywhere all at once. He didn't want to do the job, but he had no choice. It was exhausting, and it was sad. Quite an interesting perspective when it is really humans who are usually the ones so haunted by death.

And finally, the importance of "words" in this book. Words are what started the war in the first place. Terrible words said or written that people believed and acted on. Yet also, words were what saved Leisl Meminger's life, as well as helped so many others around her during this tumultuous time. Leisl goes through a period where she feels conflicted by words: loving and hating them at the same time, but ultimately comes out loving them.

In short, I loved this book, and 100% recommend it to everyone!

6 comments:

  1. This sounds like an amazing book that I would definitely love! I love the concept of having Death as a narrator and focusing on the importance and power of words.

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    1. Heather, you would DEF. love it! Let me know when/if you read it!

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  2. I've been looking for a new book to read! I will have to reserve this at the library soon!

    www.corporategirlstyle.blogspot.com

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    1. Hey Darcy, thanks for stopping by! This is def. one to add to the reading list!

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  3. Sounds really good! What a unique point of view it must be as how Death would react to things. Adding this to my list!

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    1. yes, such an interesting point of view. Let me know when/if you read it!

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