Terri Lynn's Reviews > The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
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Jan 04, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction
Read from December 27, 2011 to January 04, 2012

Though it may have been categorized as a young adult novel, it is most definitely for adults. It is a masterpiece of fiction that will sear its way into your heart and burn a permanent spot there for itself.

The story is narrated by Death. Not the skull and crossbones character people associate with death. You know the one I mean. The evil skulking creature that haunts the world, smirking as it brings an end to life. This Death is actually more in line with what my own Atheist heart expects death to be- a soft, quiet friend who leads one to eternal peace and nothingness. This is so well done, readers will be amazed to find that they actually LIKE the very empathetic character of Death. The narration adds to the story and ties up loose ends as we go along yet never intrudes on the story.

The Book Thief is Liesel Meminger who we meet on a train in Germany with her mother and her little brother. Her mother, accused as a Communist, is taking the children to foster parents- Hans and Rosa Hubermann on Himmel Street. They are not rich. Hans plays accordian and is a painter while his wife takes in laundry to wash. Their kids are grown, with their son being a die hard Nazi. On the trip, Liesel's little brother dies and this is when Death first meets her.

Liesel is heartbroken and finds it hard to adjust to life with the Hubermanns. Rosa is loud and insulting though we find that underneath she has a soft, warm, kind center and really loves this child and loves Hans too despite her name-calling. Hans really becomes Liesel's papa. His gentle compassionate nature wins the grieved child over.

Liesel picked up a book about grave-digging from the snow when she and her mother stood at her brother's grave. She can't read but Hans does his best to teach her despite his own lack of ability to read well. She meets a boy, Rudy Steiner, who will in many ways be the love of her life despite the tragedy that occurs near the end of the book. Rudy is her friend and supporter and is always asking for a kiss. He finally gets one but our hearts are broken when this happens.

The town and its people, the ordinary faces of everyday Nazi party members, the fear and pain of the Jews are brought to life in a way that makes the reader feel as if she knows them, as if they are neighbors. When Hans welcomes the Jewish son of the man who once saved his life into the house, the dangerous game of hiding a Jew opens the heart and mind of Liesel even further.

This is a beautifully written story. I have decided to go through the book and write some of the descriptions down in a pretty pink notebook. I can't really explain to you how lovely the writing really is. The book is both heartwrenching and heartwarming at the same time. Prepare to be angry. Prepare to cry. Anyone who walks away from this book unmoved is missing a heart. I have savored every word. This book is magic. Don't miss it!
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Lance Greenfield Hi Terri - I wrote a comment to you on my review of this book


message 2: by Lance (last edited Jan 05, 2012 12:07AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lance Greenfield What a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL review, Terri!

It actually makes me feel good to read your words, because they are totally congruent with my own thoughts regarding The Book Thief. Reading your review made me feel very emotional indeed.

I think that "He finally gets one...." is a bit of a spoiler, although you can see that coming long before it happens. The expression made me smile though. It is quintessentially American!

Gosh! Your words have made me feel quite tearful and woozy now. I am supposed to be working, but I am going to have to take five minutes out to regain my composure.


message 3: by Terri Lynn (new) - added it

Terri Lynn Thank you Lance. Yes, we do know early on that poor sweet Rudy will not be getting a kiss. Death tells us so during one of the occasions when Rudy asks for one. I fell in love with Rudy and Hans both in this book. What lovely people they were. I read the library's copy of this book and now have ordered it from Amazon. It is a powerful story.


Tracey i love this book also. even thinking about it brings tears to my eyes :)


message 5: by Rajan (new) - added it

Rajan your review made me to read this book. I have added it to read8ng shelf.


message 6: by Terri Lynn (new) - added it

Terri Lynn I hope you like it Rajan. It made me feel deep empathy, compassion and love for the characters.


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