Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Originally written on October 29, 2013

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
nook book (ebook); 442 pages
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on December 18, 2007 (originally 2005)
Rating: 5 stars

Summary (Goodreads):
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

By her brother's graveside, Liesel Meminger's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Grave Digger's Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up and closed down

My Thoughts:
The Book Thief. Where do I start with The Book Thief?

The Book Thief is a Young Adult Historical fiction book written by Markus Zusak. It takes place during World War II in Nazi Germany, following a young girl by the name of Liesel Meminger, and narrated by Death.

Liesel is known as the book thief. She caught the eye of Death during her first encounter with him, the death of her little brother. During his funeral, she steals a book from the learning gravedigger called The Gravedigger’s Handbook. After this, Death becomes interested and begins telling her story. 

Unable to read and in a new town with a new family and all new environments, Liesel starts out behind all the other kids her age. She is left to be a part of the younger kids’ class instead of with her own age group. This infuriates her to no end. Not only that, but Liesel is haunted by the nightmare of her brother’s death, waking up every night in terror. Her new Papa, however, comes in to see her every night. This is how Liesel’s life goes by.

Then, the fateful night occurs where she wakes up drenched, having peed the bed. Liesel is ashamed and upset. Papa then goes to take the bedsheets off and help her get cleaned up, but ends up finding her stolen book. This leads to him and Liesel reading night after night, practicing words and learning new things. Though she was still behind, she was moved up to her age group, and Liesel grew as a reader and as a person. Little did she know, on that heartbreaking, tearful day her brother was buried, a bunch of dominoes were being set off, and it would be the start of her book thievery. 

Though surrounded by death and destruction on several occasions, Liesel lives on, working her hardest to learn and understand any and every word, absorb their stories, and love them unconditionally. She faces hardships no person should ever have to deal with, and experiences happiness in ways words are unfit to describe. Though not a quick read, and with a very unhappy ending, the book, oddly enough, left me satisfied. If you don’t like that type of thing, this book is definitely not for you, and if you really just want to be entertained for a while, it isn’t either. This book is more for those wanting to sit and ponder with the protagonist, love with them, learn with them, and really, just experience their life with them, whether it’s happy, sad, climactic, anticlimactic, any and all of these things. It’s for anyone who just wants to experience the life of a little girl who is growing up through all this, regardless of how it turns out. 

Really, I don’t know how to end this review. This book will most likely leave you crying, or at least leave your heart hurting in the end, and you’ll really feel for this girl. You’ll love her unconditionally, even with the flaws you know and she knows she has. Overall, you’ll be left satisfied with the course life takes Liesel on. 


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