Book Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Title: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Number of Pages: 552

Genre: YA Historical fiction

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Summary From Cover: [This is actually the summary from Goodreads, and it’s not on the cover.]

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.

Discussion: First the end. Then the beginning. [If you caught the reference, points to you!]

I finished this book today in science class. I read the last sentence, those last words, those last letters, and basically stared. I cried. [You know (or should know) that I do not cry when I read. So this is rare. But it wasn’t full-out weeping, just some tears.] When one of my friends tried to ask me a question, I yelled at him. And my friends were like, What the heck?

sad animated GIF

Before I read The Book Thief, I read reviews about it. Mostly everyone said it was terribly sad. So when I started the book, I expected it to be absolutely devastating and heartbreaking and blah. But it wasn’t! It was funny, and mysterious, and intriguing. Still, halfway through, I didn’t understand how it was sad. I mean, come on. TFIOS is sad. But this? Psh. I basically rolled my eyes and mocked people’s sensitivity.

Ha, Chloe. Ha! Listen to the reviews next time. Don’t mock. Don’t roll your eyes. They’re right.

So if you go into this book thinking it’s not sad, the please reread this and every other review, because: IT IS SAD. And there is nothing you can do about it.

Besides being sad, this book is beautiful. I had my doubts at the beginning, but, OMG.

The characters. Liesel is the past equivalent of a book blogger. She needs words. And she will do anything to get them. They feed her soul, and although she starts as an illiterate ten-year-old girl, traumatized and confused, she turns into a fourteen-year-old young woman who relishes words and writes like nobody’s business.

Hans, Liesel’s adoptive father. I love the descriptions of his silver eyes. Not only does he too love words and teaches Liesel how to read, but he loves music. He plays the accordion magnificently [or so I’m told]. Hans seems like a wonderful father with such a kind heart.

Rosa, Liesel’s adoptive mother. She’s a witch most of the time. Yet she loves Liesel and Hans. The scene with her holding the accordion is so human and shows Rosa’s true colors.

The narrator. The narrator is an interesting choice by the author. It is, quite obviously, Death. It is appropriate, in my opinion, to have Death as the narrator, because what happened a lot in WWII? Death. But I still don’t fully understand why Death chose to focus on Liesel’s story, out of the billions of stories of people in the world.

The setting. Yes, there are a bajillion books and stories about WWII. But many of them are set in the US, or some other country in Europe, or somewhere close to Hitler. But this book is set on a street in Germany, a poor, ordinary street, with ordinary residents who play soccer in the street, steal, and just are pretty ordinary. There aren’t spies, or tons of Jews, or anything really special. Just a street.

I loved this book to pieces, but even awesome books have problemos. This book’s? Read…

  • A LOT of parts were slow, and I found myself thinking, Oh, I should read…but it’s so boooring. I had to force myself to read it a lot!
  • I wasn’t so psyched about the narrator.
  • The ending. It’s just, GOD.

Have you read The Book Thief? Did you cry? Tell me in the comments below.

BTW, just got 51 followers! Thanks so much. :) Love y’all.

I am posting for the third time today [Sorry!], and it is the TCWT blog chain, about book beginnings and endings.

Bye now.