Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Title: The Book Thief (Amazon)
Author: Markus Zusak
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2005
Pages: 550

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. . .

Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she discovers something she can't resist- books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever they are to be found.

With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel 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. (Goodreads)

Kim’s take –

This was an excellent book. Leisel is 9 years-old and has already suffered a tragic life when she arrives at the doorstep to the home of her foster parents. The book is narrated by Death who seems to take an interest in Leisel. Death’s narration is to the point, sad but comical at times. The book gives a lot of insight into the lives of the poorer Germans during the war, but also how they fought for the smallest bit of good and beauty in things to keep them going. Small acts of kindness towards the condemned would earn any German serious consequences. By harboring a Jew in their basement for a couple years, they were putting their lives on the line. But a strong relationship grows between the fugitive and the family. The effect he has on Leisel will change her forever. There were many different and eccentric characters throughout the novel and, though a lot of them did not get along, they always came together in times of need.

Many found this book sad in the end but I didn’t. It was a very good story, and sure, many tragic things happened throughout and towards the end but there was also hope and feelings of happiness. Not an upbeat book but definitely a must-read!

Kim’s Rating – 5/5

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