The first HALF of the book could have been a bit more succint. I felt it dragged on too long and that almost made me mark this book with threes stars.The first HALF of the book could have been a bit more succint. I felt it dragged on too long and that almost made me mark this book with threes stars. But I couldn't, not to this lovely work of literary art.
I understand that the first part sets up the character and how she is like. We feel for her because of all she's been through and how she still tries to have a normal childhood (soccer, a little stealing, and a childhood romance). But it dragged too long and detered from the plot of the story. Another falling grace was that, no matter how hard I tried, I could not love Liesel. I liked her tremendously, but her character, I felt, was never developed very fully.
Maybe it was Death narrating, which detracted from her actual thoughts and emotions. But a third party narrator shouldn't have that effect. I think mostly it the fact that she never said very much nor did anything on her own very much (at least for a book character which, in order make a book work needs to have the protagonist do more than day to day activities).
The book itself had a lot of short sentences and short chapters, which made this 500 plus page book an easier read than expect.
Overall, Zusak does a wonderful job in writing. One of my favorite parts, at least in terms of writing is, (and I'm not putting it in quotes because this is from memory:
Rudy smiled. It was like a skid across his face. He waited.
Otto wasted no time in loosing control of his bike, sliding across the icy road, and skidding to a halt.
With that, one can see the use of short sentences and Zusak's unique style of simile's and metaphors. He combines the intagible and turns them tangible, especially when describing words-their heaviness and often very real effects.
At first, with most reviews, people often described the power of books in Liesel's life. But this story was much more than that, for which I am pleasantly surprised. Though I hated myself for it (for what is more cliched than using war to analyze humanity-the loss, the suffering, the growing up) I did appreciate Zusak's take on war and the emotions it brings out. Cleverly, but not quite as original, Zusak uses Death to contemplate the complexities of human nature. I must say he succeeds quite well and this is more than a girl who thieves for books....more