Read on 10th July, 2014
Author: Markus Zusak
4.5 Stars 🙂
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.
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First of all, I would like to thank my friend Zahra (who will never read this…) for lending me her copy of The Book Thief and putting up with my having it for several months. The irony is, she’s interstate so I can’t give it back to her for another two weeks or so…
It’s been a long time since I had a book that gave me a good, long cry. The Book Thief was amazing, with flawed, loveable, relatable characters (aside from Viktor Chemmel and Franx Deutscher who we’re meant to hate, I loved all of the characters) on a backdrop of one of the worst wars but in that finding hope, friendship and happiness. For some reason, it took me longer to read this book than it usually would, but that didn’t make it any less beautiful.
I loved Death and how he was portrayed. I loved the little bits and pieces that he put in and how he came across as a character. While I didn’t quite understand the concept of the “colours”, I think I got the general sense of what he was on about. At first, the prologue didn’t make sense, but it unravelled and revealed itself as we read on. Some people say that they didn’t like Death narrating because he gives out spoilers on who’s going to die – I actually quite liked these as they really ingrained with his character.
The library. Can I have a library like that? Please? That would be AMAZING! As a total bookworm myself, I could really relate to Liesel in that sense.
Honestly, this is probably only about the fifth book I’ve picked up about WWII and the first four were not only a few years ago, but were short and in a series that I grew very frustrated with (I couldn’t even bring myself to finish the last one). Anyway, I loved it and I appreciated the viewpoint from Germany itself – after all, not all Germans were Hitler-mad.
On the Movie
I found the movie to be a really good adaptation. I did actually see the movie before I read the book (not something I commonly practice) and my opinion hasn’t changed on it. Not to mention, both the book and the movie made me cry – a lot (which may sound weird as a positive note but so long as I’ve got a box of tissues I love a good cry over a book and/or movie). So don’t miss out on the movie because you don’t want to ruin your experience of the book! (Trust me, this is a valid reason for many. It’s also part of the reason why I cringe at the very thought of the Percy Jackson movies).
All in all, I loved it and it is definitely on my list of books to buy! Plus, it’s pretty awesome that he’s an Australian author – I really think that The Book Thief is going to become a classic.