Marianne's Reviews > The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
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Feb 19, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2011reads, fiction, favourites, friendship, holocaust, history, tragedy, war, germany
Read from February 13 to 19, 2011

Back in the early days of Friends Joey and Rachel give each other books to read and Joey ends up traumatised with Little Women to an extent that he has to put the book in the freezer, just to get away from how intense it is. At the time I laughed and giggled, but...tbh, towards the end of this book I was seriously thinking Joey might have had the right idea and considered clearing out my own freezer and putting it in.

I really don't know what to say about this book apart from the fact that it's a book that everyone should read. I don't think I could really put into words the effect this book had on me. It made me smile, it made me laugh and it made me break down and sob. I'm an emotional person when it comes to books so crying is nothing new, but I literally cried for 20 mins because of things that happened in this book even though we knew what happened, and got reminded numerous times throughout about how it would end.

Death as a narrator is an original idea, but it isn't all morbid. The years of Liesel's life that is covered has the spectre of tragedy over it, but there are also moments of humour and playfulness.

The fact that the book is about a German girl, in a German house during WW2 is actually refreshing. We have Liesel and Rudy, our two young characters, being members of the Hitler Youth despite their, and their family's dislike of nazism. We have Liesel's adoptive father applying to join the Nazi party, despite the fact he protects Jews. We have the tragedy at the end happen because the Allies deliberately bombed a residential area...war's a shady business and even the 'good guys' do bad things.

There's nothing about the book that doesn't work - Death's narration, Liesel's experiences, the little asides, the books that she steals and is given, what we realise could have happened with the benefit of hindsight if certain decisions hadn't been made...you get the sense of what if? What if one little thing had been different?

This story hasn't been told before - about a German girl, in a German family, with German friends who are all bound by forces outwith their control. Disobedience leads to whippings, and father's being sent on potential suicide missions and being outcast. Compliance leads to making teary Heil Hitler proclamations at book burnings, or watching Jews be marched through the town towards a concentration camp, or being noticed by people you don't want to notice you. So much modern perception on WW2 has two sides - Germans=bad and everyone else=good. In the real world it doesn't work like that and this book shows that.

It's an amazing piece of writing and everyone should read it. Just make sure you have a box of hankies as well...trust me, there is no way that you won't need them.
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Quotes Marianne Liked

Markus Zusak
“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“It kills me sometimes, how people die.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“I am haunted by humans.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn't already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“Often I wish this would all be over, Liesel, but then somehow you do something like walk down the basement steps with a snowman in your hands.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“Please believe me when I tell you that I picked up each soul that day as if it were newly born. I even kissed a few weary, poisoned cheeks. I listened to their last, gasping cries. Their vanishing words. I watched their love visions and freed them from their fear.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“I carried [Rudy] softly through the broken street...with him I tried a little harder [at comforting]. I watched the contents of his soul for a moment and saw a black-painted boy calling the name Jesse Owens as he ran through an imaginary tape. I saw him hip-deep in some icy water, chasing a book, and I saw a boy lying in bed, imagining how a kiss would taste from his glorious next-door neighbor. He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It's his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race - that rarely do I even simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant...I AM HAUNTED BY HUMANS.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“Somewhere, far down, there was an itch in his heart, but he made it a point not to scratch it. He was afraid of what might come leaking out.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“The consequence of this is that I'm always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both. (Death)”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“In years to come, he would be a giver of bread, not a stealer - proof again of the contradictory human being. So much good, so much evil. Just add water.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“She was saying goodbye and she didn't even know it.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“How about a kiss, Saumensch?"

He stood waist-deep in the water for a few moments longer before climbing out and handing her the book. His pants clung to him, and he did not stop walking. In truth, I think he was afraid. Rudy Steiner was scared of the book thief's kiss. He must have longed for it so much. He must have loved her so incredibly hard. So hard that he would never ask for her lips again and would go to his grave without them.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“Two weeks to change the world, fourteen days to destroy it.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“On many counts, taking a boy like Rudy Steiner was robbery--so much life, so much to live for--yet somehow, I'm certain he would have loved to see the frightening rubble and the swelling of the sky on the night he passed away. He'd have cried and turned and smiled if only he could have seen the book thief on her hands and knees, next to his decimated body. He'd have been glad to witness her kissing his dusty, bomb-hit lips.
Yes, I know it.
In the darkness of my dark-beating heart, I know. He'd have loved it all right.
You see?
Even death has a heart.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn't already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race—that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.

None of those things, however, came out of my mouth.

All I was able to do was turn to Liesel Meminger and tell her the only truth I truly know. I said it to the book thief and I say it now to you.

I am haunted by humans.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“A small fact:
You are going to die....does this worry you?”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“You can't eat books, sweetheart.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
“And they would all smile at the beauty of destruction.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief


Reading Progress

02/14/2011 page 149
27.0%

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