“It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.
By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.
But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.”(From Goodreads)
Rating: 5/5 Crowns
– Superb writing
– Interesting plot
– Great characters
Comparable Book(s): Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
*In depth review contains spoilers
This book must be one of the most beautifully written books that I have EVER read. Markus Zusak crafts such unique descriptions for nearly every action and scene in the book. The Book Thief might be the best book I’ve read all year. I found myself having to stop reading so that I could mark down really great lines. When I write my book I can only hope to have as many amazing moments.
My favorite quotes:
“There was a young man parceled up in barbed wire, like a giant crown of thorns.”
“ “There were stars,” he said. “They burned my eyes.” “
“You see? Even death has a heart”
That last quote brings me to another wonderful aspect of the book – it is narrated by Death. Most of the books I read are either told in first person or a characterless third person. This story is told by Death who is a character with emotions and opinions. I really liked getting to know Death (that is probably the strangest thing I’ve written all day).
I’m a little bit of a history nerd. I might not be able to spout off dates and facts but I genuinely enjoy learning about the past. This book has given me a better perspective on how life would be for the average German in WWII. It’s easy to assume that everyone on the ‘German side’ is bad and everyone on the ‘Ally side’ is good but we often forget about the everyday folk who just want to protect their family. Hans Hubermann is a shining example of goodness in Nazi Germany.
I found the characters to be well developed and unique from one another. My favorite character, with out a doubt, has to be Max. I love Max so much it physically hurt when he had to leave. And the small reunion that he shares with Liesel as he’s traveling to the concentration camp – that made my heart sob. And the beautiful words he gave her! If I could by a copy of Standover Man and his sketchbook, I would. I loved him so much that I marked every chapter that he was in because I want to be able to revisit them easily. Markus Zusak has made me fall in love with a fictional fist-fighter.
I’m trying hard to give this a critical review that features both the pros and cons of the book but it’s difficult when I can’t find anything wrong with the book. I love the setting, I love the writing and I love the characters. The only thing that I can offer as a ‘downside’ is that there’s not more of it – but the book is already 500 pages, so I can’t be too mad.
The Book Thief has left me with so many emotions and heartache but it’s a beautiful heartache. I’d love to know anyone else’s thoughts and opinions on the book.
– Queen Celine