Sandi's Reviews > The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
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Jan 16, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2011, historical-fiction, e-books
Read from January 13 to 22, 2011

I original had The Book Thief on my young adult shelf, but decided to remove it from there. This is by no means a book just for teens. While I would love to have a child of just about any age read it (even with a bit of rough language), this is really a work of literature that is meant for adults. Like To Kill a Mockingbird, it works on so many levels that would go over the heads of children. I suspect that it's a book that one could get something different out of depending on where one is in life.

The Book Thief gives us a different view of life during WWII. We've seen Holocaust stories from the Jewish viewpoint many, many times. We've seen English life during the Blitz. We've visited people in countries occupied by the Nazis. What we rarely see in literature is stories about the German people during the Third Reich. This is a story about those ordinary Germans and it's every bit as moving as any other WWII story.

What really pushed this book to the top was the ending. We are told fairly early on what is going to happen. We know that Death is telling the story, thus death is involved. However, even though we know what is going to happen, it still comes as a shock. The ending brought me to tears and I felt a bit silly because I was in a public place at the time. It was brilliant in its ability to bring about such an emotional response. I cry during movies, during old hymns in church, and during inspirational stories on the evening news; but I rarely cry while reading novels. This one did me in though and that's why it gets 5 stars.
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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Lisa Vegan Sandi, I just marked to follow this discussion so I'm less likely to miss your review.

I'm curious about what you will think. This one made my favorites shelf; I just loved it. Read it twice, on my own and also because of a Goodreads' group and then finally my real world book club. I hope that you enjoy it.

When it was first published in Australia it was published as an adult novel. When it was republished in the U.S. they marketed it to young adults and it's considered a ya book here.


Sandi I know it's marketed as YA, but I wouldn't consider it as such based on what I've read so far. I think it's really interesting reading about a German girl growing up during the Third Reich. We always get the Holocaust stories about the Jews, but this is a rare glimpse at what life was like in Germany during the war. Having just read Blackout and All Clear, I'm looking forward to this perspective.


Lisa Vegan Sandi, I felt exactly the same way. Adult book. And it was fascinating to see WWII through the eyes of some non-Jewish non-Nazi Germans.


Sandi I finished it this afternoon. It had me crying.


Lisa Vegan Sandi wrote: "I finished it this afternoon. It had me crying."

Me too, when I read it.


Rose (唐玫) Have you seen the movie? It premiered here about a week ago, I think I'm going to check it out. I hope it does justice to the book...


Lisa Vegan Rose, I saw the movie some weeks ago. The book is better but the movie is pretty good. Excellent acting and cinematography. They changed some things, of course, but stuck to a lot of what's in the book, though a lot was left out. True of all movies, I think. I think it's worth seeing, but I always try to read the book(s) again after I see movies so the book(s), and not the movie(s), are what stays in my mind.


Sandi I haven't seen the movie yet. I'm afraid to.


Lisa Vegan Sandi, I almost didn't see it. When I really love a book I find it's sometimes best to skip the movie and keep my book impressions pristine.


Rose (唐玫) I tend to be disappointed by book adaptations, but I can't stay away. I guess I love movies too much. I usually reread the book beforehand. Come to think of it, that doesn't make much sense - makes it easier to pick on the movie. Yet somehow, once I've seen the movie, I have no patience to go through an entire book again. Reading the book first makes it exciting to imagine how they might visualize it. Even if I end up disagreeing most of the time :) I think I'll probably go, I love historical movies and everyone I've asked says the movie is decent/good enough on its own.


message 11: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Rose, I think the movie is good. They did a fairly good job. I'm really glad I read the book first though, twice (three times?), and I might read it again someday.


message 12: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan But I don't think it's special like the book is.


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