Jillian's Reviews > The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
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There are the good books, the bad books; the dull books, the exciting books; the books you'll never read again, the books you'll read until the spines disintegrate; the ordinary, the mediocre, and the weird books. And then there are the extraordinary books. The ones that touch your soul—those far parts of your soul that tend to remain too far away to be reached by anything less than extraordinary. They're few and far between, and often slightly forgotten by the rest of world, hiding in the shadows of the very bottom library shelf (or at least they do when the author's last name starts with a Z). The Book Thief is, in case you haven't guessed, is one of these extraordinary books.
What makes it so, I wonder? I mean, what could really be extraordinary about 500 pages of cold people, cold pea soup, even colder cement basements, and a whole lot of Heil Hitlering? A lot, as it turns out.

The writing, to begin with, is brilliant. A (very grim) poetically descriptive style that's spectacular to read ("spectacular" because it takes less time than saying it was beautiful and ugly and gorgeous and painful the whole turbulent time). There will be just a simple, insignificant little line, a half-in-shadow scene, or a picture we can only just catch a glimpse of out of the corners of our eyes, that really shouldn't be able to hit you so hard in the heart, but it does. Zusak puts it in such a way that it most definitely does.
And Death as the narrator? That was perfect. The perfect voice to give to a time when evil and destruction ran rampant as they never had before. A time of ash and bombs and barbed wire. Zusak does it all in a vivid, yet blurred, eloquence and a very grey sort of wry humour that makes it all bearable.

And now for the characters. These are some of the best characters I've ever come across. Everyone of them—the girl with the love for words, the boy who painted himself black, the accordion-playing house painter, the woman with the cardboard face, the Jewish fist-fighter, and all the rest—I loved them. They became my friends. They got under my skin and tore at my heart. I laughed with them and cried for them. They are so very real. So ordinary. So simple. So very whole, and so very broken. And so very human. None of them without major flaws. And it is this ordinary humanness that makes them quite extraordinary. Their tears and their smiles, their fears and their courage, their weakness and their strength. Their relationships with each other. You can feel them. And that, to me, makes a good character.

This book is for everyone (though that can be said for any book). People who can't stand tragic books may not get along so well with it (but then, I dislike tragic books, and that didn't seem to wreck it for me). People who hate to be told what's going to happen before it happens may not altogether enjoy it either (that Death chap is a bundle of spoilers). And also a warning for the fairly large amount of bad language.

It is, however, a book I can honestly say that I loved, and that is a pretty uncommon thing.
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Quotes Jillian 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
“It kills me sometimes, how people die.”
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
“He was the crazy one who had painted himself black and defeated the world.

She was the book thief without the words.

Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain.”
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
“A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Reading Progress

December 6, 2012 – Started Reading
December 6, 2012 – Shelved
December 8, 2012 –
page 160
December 10, 2012 –
page 255
December 12, 2012 –
page 312
December 13, 2012 –
page 443
December 14, 2012 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
December 14, 2012 – Shelved as: favourites
December 14, 2012 – Finished Reading
February 23, 2013 – Shelved as: the-best-of-the-best
January 16, 2014 – Shelved as: fav-covers
May 28, 2015 – Shelved as: best-male-characters
May 28, 2015 – Shelved as: best-female-characters

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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LadyDisdain Ohhh, this is SUCH a good book. I absolutely love it - it's one of those that I can't help hugging to me! I really hope you enjoy it.

Jillian I'm liking it so far! Different then anything I've ever read, but really good.

Jillian I am now!

LadyDisdain Haha, awww. I know what you mean. I bawled like a baby. Reading your comment just reminded me of all the feels *sniff*

Jillian *choke*

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