Christine ✨'s Reviews > The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
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May 23, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: ya
Recommended to Christine ✨ by: tumblr
Read from May 23 to 28, 2012 , read count: 1

This book floated across my tumblr dashboard for years before I finally checked it out of the library, but I’m so glad I did. It certainly wasn’t the lightest read—telling the story of a young girl, Liesel, living in an impoverished neighborhood in Nazi Germany, whose love of words leads her to stealing the occasional book to sustain her need—but it was still somehow enjoyable.

Things that made this a success, in my eyes:

1) the language. For a young adult novel, Zusak spares nothing when it comes to well-crafted prose. He also spares no gruesome details. I found myself stopping on occasion to simply process one of the narrator (Death)’s statements.

2) the concept. I didn’t realize how fascinated I was by World War II, particularly the German side of it. My whole life, I’ve heard the patriotic stories of America’s entrance into the war, but I hadn’t really considered the perspective of the Germans. It’s not that I was raised to hate Germans, but certainly Hitler. Zusak doesn’t make Hitler innocent, that’s for sure, but the image of the German people, the ones who had to cower and hide in order to remain out of the blow of the Nazis… that’s what stuck with me about the image of tyranny.

3) Liesel. Such a wonderfully crafted young character, and yet, despite her nationality and her impoverished circumstances, I found myself relating to her, sympathizing with her thirst for stories. I was lucky enough to grow up with a library card, but Liesel has to steal books to keep her soul alive. Zusak shows her growth in spirit, as well, over almost five years, and by the time the book ended, I wasn’t ready to let her go.

4) the lack of romance. I have read many young adult books in my day, and most of them, particularly the ones about girls, are mostly about romantic love in varying circumstances. To my relief, there is none of that in The Book Thief. Although Liesel grows to love her best friend, Rudy, she never acts on it, and only truly realizes it near the end of the book. Instead of focusing on the budding sexuality and romantic feelings between the two young characters, Zusak focuses on the depth and uniqueness of their friendship.
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