Amanda's Reviews > The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
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's review
Jun 07, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2008
Recommended to Amanda by: Chicks on Lit June 2008 book pick

** spoiler alert ** 6/09: So far, so slow. Don't get me wrong, I'm really liking it. But I thought it would be a quick read and that I wouldn't have to concentrate at all, but that's not the case. It's stylized, which makes it take longer. And all the colors and images are begging me to drink them slowly, savoring each drop. Not a good book to read on a deadline, or if your brain is fuzzy like mine is these days. I'll keep ya posted...

6/25: Ok, I'm still about 200 pages out from finishing this book. I was a little hesitant at first--too damn long (550 pages) and I don't like violence, particularly Nazi violence (and civil war violence). But there really isn't any violence, or if there is, I'm too American Television scar-tissued up to notice... Anyway, now I LOVE this book and am well on my way to five-starring it!

Don't let anyone tell you this book is about a little girl growing up in Nazi Germany. This book is about Death, the man. You know, cloak and sythe guy? (Don't tell him I said that.) The book is about Death walking through life, experiencing a horror like no other. And he takes moments to watch this little girl, to let his heart be warmed by her youth and growth.

I hope nothing bad happens.

6/27: Bad stuff does happen. Everyone she knows is obliterated. Jesus (Mary and Joseph). The death chapter at the end (just before the epilogue) takes way too long. Seems like Mr. Zusak got a bit full of himself. Which is a shame because it kinda colors the whole book now. Damn him.

Great book. Loved it! Hated the ending.

6/29: I wish I had reviewed this book before I got to the end. Because the end stole some of the beauty of the writing. For two reasons: 1, because I hate the fact that everyone in the town ended up dead. It's an issue with the storyline, that's all. 2, because Marcus Zusak went on and on and on and on about this death scene. Enough already. Stop with the flowery talk, dude. Methinks you're masturbating a bit.

Because, here's the thing. The rest of the book is flowery talk, too, but it's FANTASTIC! Smells have colors, emotions have scents, visions have texture, and life is three dimensional. That's why I like the book so much. It is alive with human nature. I'm very interested in reading other Zusak--Messenger next, I think.

6/30: Ah-Ha!!!! Epiphany! The reason I don't like the death scene at the end--I kinda thought Death and Liesel would have more interaction. Not that she would physically recognize him or anything, but more similar to the scene where the pilot died and Death said he knew Leisel could "see" him. I wish she could have emerged from the rubble seconds after the bombing and so could have been more present for this HUGE loss! Every other time some event happened, Liesel was there to witness it. The death of her brother; seeing Rudy chase her book down the river; retrieving the book from the fire and noticing the mayor's wife watching. Everything else was NOW. But this one event, was BEFORE. I long for that 'life breath' that I feel throughout the rest of the book.

Also, slightly off-topic side note: I'm glad we got warned about Rudy's death long before it happened. It made me want to savor every single moment he was on the page. I love Rudy.
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim A quick read about the Holocaust? hmmmm...

Keep reading Mands.. It's worth it.

Valerie I loved this book, but Kim and I have differing opinions about The Messenger - I didn't like it as much, but Kim did. I'd be interested to hear what you think of it if you read it.

Also, the end of The Book Thief didn't really seem that out of line with the rest of the book to me. Guess that's what knocked off the fifth star for you, huh?

Amanda Yep, totally. Although I still completely recognize that the book as a whole is quite lovely. I'm quite fascinated by this author's ability to make a story so three-dimensional (real life? circling around me? ugh, I can't think of the right phrase!!!) while using romantic and flowery language. It's on the edge of poetic while still being tangible.

ramble, ramble, ramble. I'll make a point to let you know what I think of The Messenger. When I get to it--it could be months from now! :)

Also (ok, you probably don't care about this, and rightfully so), I'm thinking that I need to re-evaluate some of the books I've given 5 stars to. Some of them probably don't deserve it.

message 4: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim That's what I like about GR, it gets you to think of your internal rating system while you're in the moment. I probably wouldn't have spent half the time analyzing if I didn't want to write a fair review.

Good Job, Mands. :)

Valerie I need to re-evaluate some of my five-stars, too... there was that initial GR rush where I was just plugging in all the books that I could remember having read.

I just went and listed my books by rating so that I could see my five-star picks. They include How to Eat Fried Worms and Superfudge. Yes, reflection over time can be a good thing.

Amanda I added two paragraphs to my review. I figured out why I didn't like the ending!

You don't have to read it. But I thought I'd share, anyway...

message 7: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy I found this book quite a revelation. Death is a great character/narrator, but the ending didn't bother me the way it seems to have bothered you. That said, I agree with your review all the way up to the ending....

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Amanda--it's interesting that we both had the thought that some of the other books we gave 5 stars to may not have deserved them after reading this book.

I never thought about the ending in that way, but now I see what you are saying. Because the story is told from the point of view of Death, it does feel a bit hands off at times, a bit dream-like. Like The Christmas Carol when the ghosts are showing Scrooge scenes from the past, present and future? Like that. But the death scenes at the end of this book feel slowed down, and much more detailed. BUT, to me it makes sense why the author did that. I mean, this is Death's arena. Death has come to take all of Liesel's friends and family away, and he (she? Why do I picture Death as a male, anyway?) isn't just passing close to Liesel. He stops and looks directly at her for a long time. Maybe that's why it went on for so long? Just my thoughts.

Damn I love a book I can discuss.

Amanda I just noticed a spelling error in my review!
Dear god, I almost panicked! (Shit. Is "panicked" spelled wrong?)

Amanda He stops and looks directly at her for a long time.
Hmmm... I can't remember the details of the ending anymore. But I think I perceived it as him NOT looking directly at her. That he spent so much time looking around her instead. I dunno. Me not know English good. Anyway, it's a pretty shallow criticism--the book is AMAZING!!!

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

I don't think it's a shallow criticism at all. I see exactly what you mean. Death did take a lot of time describing what was going on while I was wondering what the hell was going on with Liesel. I definitely think he did a bit of tap-dancing around the details. But I think even Death was afraid to look too closely, though he wants to show us what he saw. I think he sums it up best at the end when he saws he's afraid of humans.

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