Saturday, January 21, 2012

"The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
550 pages

Short Version: Liesel goes from being illiterate to stealing books from Nazi book burnings. She learns the power of words and is always hungry for them.

Why I Read It: This book was on my wishlist and one day I was in line at TJ Maxx and I happened to see it right next to me. Next thing I knew it was in with the rest of the things I was buying. It was on my TBR shelf for a little while but I'm happy I finally read it.

The Book: 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. . . .

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.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. I loved Liesel the moment she took her first book, even though she could not read. The relationship she formed with Hans Hubermann, her foster father, was amazing as he taught her to read- even though he was not a strong reader himself. Liesel's hunger for words was exactly how I feel about books. Although I don't go around stealing them, I can never seem to get enough reading. 
The narrator of The Book Thief was very interesting. It was Death. At first I thought this was a bit strange but as I kept reading I started to enjoy it. Death tells Liesel's story because he has the book she wrote in his possession. Her story encompasses her life from the time she moved in with her foster parents up to the time of the bombing on Himmel Street, where she was living with her foster family. It was told from a different perspective which is always refreshing. Death warns the readers when something bad is going to happen and throws in little tid bits of definitions or facts. As Liesel is coming of age during a horrific time in history, Death is dealing with his job of taking souls as they are ready. Only he can manage the number of souls he had to take during WWII. Liesel's notebook was a way for him to escape from the unbearable duties of his job. 
I like the way Zusak portrayed the history in this book. The reader can see that not everyone was a Nazi. There were Germans who hid Jews in their basement even while risking their own lives. Children in Hilter Youth did not always enjoy it. Parents did not want to send their children away to become an elite class of Nazi Germans. And many men saw it as punishment to be accepted in the Nazi Party and be sent to war.

Overall this was a great read and I recommend it to anyone who has a hunger for reading and words.

4/5 Stars

#3 for Mount TBR Reading Challenge
For full list click here

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