The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

Genre: Fiction, Historical, Young Adult

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It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

This is one of my absolute favourite books. The story is so touching and the characters are so likeable that I can’t understand how anyone can not love this book.

Although it is classed as a YA book it is appropriate for adults as well, do not be put off just because of this classification.

The story itself is narrated by death, this is such a novel concept and you may think that it makes the book cheesy or unrelatable but I think it’s a different twist on the normal war story, seeing it from the point of view of death is so new and the writing is beautiful and because of this I really love death as a narrator. Throughout the book death foreshadows constantly therefore the reader knows what is coming before it happens, at the start I thought this was a bit of a pointless start to the book – revealing the ending in the first few pages? However I think knowing what happens at the end only makes you love the characters more because you know what is going to happen to them. You’re anticipating and yet dreading the incident and still it happens anyway and regardless of how prepared you think you are it is still a shock when it happens and it makes me cry every single time.

The book has such a diverse array of characters, each one has a unique personality and although there are some characters which you aren’t supposed to like e.g. Liesel’s foster mother Rosa, I think towards the end every character is loved and it is truly great writing for the author to make every character likable even though they each have different personalities.

Throughout the book the descriptions of the sky and the surroundings are unbelieveable, never have I read such a description so beautiful Zusak manages to do this numerous times throughout the book, each time the words are so beautiful that you have to love them.

This book is an actual treasure, yes it is quite a long book however those extra pages add so much depth to the characters, their surroundings and their struggles. Although the book contains a large amount of death (it is set during WWII so what else are you expecting?) the book itself is never morbid.

The relationship between Max and Liesel is beautiful, they depend on each other and form such a close bond, it really is amazing to read that development.

Overall this is an amazing book with a beautiful story that will pretty much guarantee tears at the end. A must read for all ages.

Rating: 5/5

Summing up: A beautiful and heart wrenching story


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