October 03, 2014

Book Review: The Book Thief

The Book ThiefTitle: The Book Thief.
Author: Markus Zusak.
Series: No.
Source: Purchased.
Publisher: Knopf Books.
Published Date: 3/14/06.
Book Depository


"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:

The Book Thief has been one of those books that's floating around everywhere. Every store around me seems to be selling it, and every single person around me is either reading it or talking about it. And once the movie released this only seemed to multiply!

I've spend the last six years of schooling, learning about the Holocaust and Hitler, and I wasn't really trying to read another book all about it. My biggest worry about The Book Thief was that it was going to be another lecture on the Holocaust.

But after only reading a few chapters, I realized that it wasn't like that at all. The Book Thief didn't go into all of the crazy, mind blowing details of the Holocaust, and all the horrible things that the Jewish were put through, but instead it viewed the Holocaust from the perspective of a young German girl who loved to read.

Liesel lives in a tough world, where people are at war, people are starving, and people are being killed all around her; including her younger brother, who's death she witnessed.

And if things aren't hard enough, Liesel's mother drops her off at a stranger's home, where she is supposed to live from now on. Liesel has no idea who these people are, or why she's here in the first place. While the couple uses a lot of curse words, and shows tough love to one another, Liesel learns that these are good people, who don't want to hurt or harm her.

She even starts to build a close relationship with her new father, when he comes and sits in bed with her after she Liesel wakes up from her reoccurring nightmare of her brother's death.

They even have her work with the laundry, and send her to school where Liesel starts to learn how to read and her love of reading starts to sprout.

Everything seems to be pretty good, Liesel's life at this new home isn't as bad as she first expected. But things quickly change when the war continues on, basements are being checked from bomb bunkers, and her new father starts hiding a Jewish man in their house.

Liesel doesn't understand why the Jewish are being treated this way, but when her new parents ask her to keep the man in their basement a secret, she does...even if doing this could risk their lives.

Final Verdict:

My biggest worry when it came to reading The Book Thief, was crumpled up and thrown away within just a few chapters. I didn't want this story to come across as a textbook, trying to teach me things about the Holocaust, I wanted it to be a view on the Holocaust. And that's exactly what I got through Liesel's eyes.

There were a few characters in this story, Liesel, her parents, her best friend, a few people in the local town, and Hitler...of course. While we got to see and learn a lot about Liesel, her family and her best friend, we did have a few characters that were included in the story, but we didn't really hear too much about; the mayor's wife and Hitler.

Liesel visited the mayor's wife and even stole books from her library, but we didn't know much about her. All we knew is that she was on the quieter side, that she had this massive collection of books, and that she had her laundry done by Liesel's mom. She was a bit of a strange character, but interesting.

Hitler was in The Book Thief...but only in small ways. Liesel would always point out pictures of him, or news, or the fact that she was in the Hitler youth group, but only once did Hitler, himself, make an appearance in this book; which I liked as well.

Overall I thought The Book Thief was interesting! I read the entire book in just two days! There wasn't any crazy twist or turns, besides maybe one or two, but there was so much going on in the world Liesel lived in, that we didn't need any of that. Though I'm not going to give you details about the ending, it was completely heart breaking!

Have you read The Book Thief? What did you think? I would love to know!

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