21 September 2011

Book Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Book Thief is not what I was expecting, but that seems to be the theme here lately. This book has been on my to-read list for quite a while. I had no qualms about it being categorized as Youth. No one I know has read this book and I think that is a shame. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of WWII/Hitler's reign and fictional accounts of the years 1939-43. I had to read Night by Elie Wiesel in 9th grade. I think this book should also be a required read despite it containing quite a few profanities.

The main reason I rated this book 5 stars, is because Death is the narrator. I had never read anything quite like this before and Death makes for an interesting viewpoint.

Death was very busy during the reign of Hitler and despite what we think we know about Death, he is very interested in the lives of some humans. {well, at least in this book.} He comes in contact with Liesel only a handful of times, but he knows her story because he finds a book she has written about these times. He carries it with him and The Book Thief is his account of her life from the time she leaves her brother's grave to the end of her life when she is very old.   

The Book Thief is a young German girl growing up during Hitler's reign. I was expecting to read about a Jewish Book Thief, but was surprised to be reading about one of Hitler's Youth. I think, just by reading how Liesel reacted to the parades of Jews, that most German children, had no clue what was really going on.

The first book Liesel "steals", is a guide to grave digging. Weird that there would even be a book for that but whatever. Her foster father helps her learn to read with this book, so perhaps it is the most important to her.

I won't go into detail because I'm sure most everyone would hate it to be spoiled, but, you're going to get attached to quite a few characters. Try not to expect too much excitement with this book, because it is written for Youth and it doesn't go into detail about the Holocaust.

This book is well-written and doesn't leave you hanging at the end. I would like to have known what Liesel did with herself after the war up until she died, but I'm guessing the author wanted to leave that up to the reader's imagination. Kudos.

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