The Book Thief by 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. . . .

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 discovers 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 book is a reread for me. I read it for the first time just about a year ago. When I saw that it was on my school's summer reading list, I was so excited, and I knew that I had to give this book a much deserved reread.

The brillance of this book never ceases to amaze me. Just wow. There is way to much emotion packed into these pages. What a story Markus Zusak tells, from such a unique narration. Death is the narrator of this story. I LOVED what Zusak does with this narration, presenting death as a being, as if it's a job. Death has compassion, and it's own thoughts of the world. What a brilliant angle to write this story from.

All of the characters were fantastic. So realistic for the time they were living in. And you form such an emotional attachment to them. Liesel is one of the strongest characters I know. She went through so much, and survived it. I loved her love of books and words. Hans Hubermann, Liesel's foster father, was one of my favorite characters of the book. He always did what was right, despite knowing he could get in trouble. He took in a jew right in the midst of Nazi Germany. And he gave so much love to Liesel. Then there's Max, the Jew the Hubermann's take in. He was so wise, with the words that he gave to Liesel. But he was also scared and hated himself for putting the Hubermann's through this. And Rudy was the perfect best friend for Liesel. I could go on and on about these characters and how much I loved them. Seriously, Zusak is a master at characterization. Especially since there are so many characters as the book progresses. It amazes me that each one was written so well, like they were an actual person.

The thing about this book, is that it does take some time to read. This time through I read it in five days. The first time through it took me longer. There's so much to process and decipher, and it's so emotionally draining, that it's just impossible to read it in a couple of sittings.

It's such a smart, beautifully tragic, heartbreaking read. One of my favorite books of all-time, and nothing even compares to it so far when it comes to other WWII reads. The writing takes my breath away, it's truly beautiful. And there's so much meaning in each and every page. So many symbols and hidden meanings that one may miss the first time around.

I think I'll stop talking before I ramble and give away the plot. But I truly believe The Book Thief is the kind of book that everyone needs to read at least once in their life. There's so much you can take from a story like this, and everyone should experience it.

I leave you in awe from this book, yet again.


Mary Ashleigh said...

I am currently reading this(: