martha’s review of The Book Thief > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Jen (new)

Jen Good review- clarified some things and made me feel so much better about not gushing over the writing. Thanks!



message 2: by Daniel (new)

Daniel There's no reason to finish it, Martha. It never gets any better.


message 3: by Jen (new)

Jen Well, I did like the "drawerings", Daniel.




message 4: by Daniel (new)

Daniel "Clumsy and awkward," Jen. You said so yourself. (Yes, I looked!)


message 5: by Jen (new)

Jen Was this his first book? Because it felt that way to me when I read it. He needed to cut, cut, kill, kill some of his darlings.


message 6: by Daniel (new)

Daniel I'm sorry to say that this was not his first book. And now that it's a big hit, he'll likely be one of those writers who won't be edited much if at all from here on out. What a shame.


message 7: by Jen (new)

Jen I agree with your review as well. There was too much monkeying around with the format and font. The rambling on was a problem. But invention and imagery kept him in the three star range for me. The intrusive narration was not as intrusive to me as some of Hawthorne. His target audience I thought was YA...for that audience the key problem I thought was the amount of material that needed lopping off.


message 8: by Daniel (new)

Daniel And that raises an interesting question, Jen: If teenagers have such ridiculously short attention spans, as we keep being told they do, why are the most succesful YA novels (this one, "Twilight") so long and needlessly wordy? Can someone explain this apparent paradox?


message 9: by Jen (new)

Jen Not I, said the little red hen.

Maybe they kept reading Twilight hoping there was real honest to God sex somewhere.

If YA is ready for better written rambling they should get hooked on Irving.


message 10: by Daniel (new)

Daniel And at least Irving has honest-to-God sex scenes, cringe-inducing though they may be.


message 11: by Jen (new)

Jen HA! From Owen Meany - "Hardness! Hardness!" "Wetness! Wetness!"


message 12: by Alexis (new)

Alexis It makes me sad that you analyzed (and trashed) this book from the perspective of a staunchly traditional instructor of writing. This is experimental fiction at its best, and all of the things that you labeled as narrative weakness were actually decisions made deliberately and masterfully by Zusak. It seems so wrong that anyone would tell a friend not to finish this book.


message 13: by Kimberley (new)

Kimberley Alexis wrote: "It makes me sad that you analyzed (and trashed) this book from the perspective of a staunchly traditional instructor of writing. This is experimental fiction at its best, and all of the things tha..."

I agree with you, Alexis. I got the impression that the above detractors were a bit more impressed with themselves than the clever way Z chose to write his story.


message 14: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Or, perhaps, we simply didn't like the book. Perhaps what you found clever we found annoying, and what you found experimental fiction at its best we found pretension at its worst. One doesn't have to be "staunchly traditional" to find some forms of experimentation unacceptable.


message 15: by Ademption (new)

Ademption Fight! Fight!

I have no stance yet on whether to read this.


message 16: by Claudette (new)

Claudette I agree.. there is no depth here. As sad as this story was, I found myself emotionless, and disconnected. This would have been a story better told in the 1st person perhaps?


message 17: by Marie (new)

Marie Very good point about the telling vs. showing! That's one of the points I considered in my review and just didn't get to (I tend to get distracted while writing them).

I think one of the things that most annoyed me was that sometimes his gimmicks (like the little bold asides) worked—but most of the time they didn't. "Death's" narrative descriptions occasionally worked—and nearly all of the time didn't.

Literature overall, I think, would benefit from more developmental editors. Even the books I love have sprawl that should have been cut. Focus isn't a bad think!

I may have given it more stars, but you definitely caught all of the flaws I did (none of which are fixed by the ending, so finishing it wouldn't help). Power to multiple opinions.


message 18: by Sheetal (new)

Sheetal Joshi I actually heard it over my commute and the narrator was just so good... I think thats a big reason why I enjoyed this book even more. You can give it a try. I picked my audio book from the local library.


message 19: by Megan (new)

Megan Exactly what I thought


message 20: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Thanks for this review--you've restored some of my faith in the reading population! Oh how I cringed my way through dozens of labored, awkward constructions in this book. You highlighted one of the best/worst of them in your review. As you say, lots of just bad writing (and all of the development issues on top of that). In fact, I'm downgrading my rating; the book doesn't deserve two stars.


message 21: by Anton (new)

Anton Dockel I am 68 I have been reading since age 7. This book is really one of the very worst books ever. Bad writing , pretentious, quasi-poetic, clunky and the story is unrealistically portrayed by one dimensional characters. When all around you praise the worthless, you wonder, maybe the aliens HAVE landed and wiped their powers of comprehension away


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