Saturday, April 7, 2012
Review: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Synopsis: (from Goodreads): 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.
My Review: This was a very interesting book. It took me awhile to really appreciate it. I started reading and thought "It's good, but I don't really understand all the hype." I'm not sure exactly when I began to really appreciate this book but appreciate it I did.
This book is unique in a few different ways. First, it is the only book I've read where the main character was a non-Jewish German child. This does not mean that the war didn't change her life drastically but it was not your typical story of the persecuted Jew. There is a character that fits that description in this book but I don't feel that his story was stereotypical either. Second, the narrator is Death or the Grim Reaper, whichever you prefer. He, once again, is not what you might expect. He feels almost benevolent while adding a global view to a story centered around one young girl. Through him you see not only her story but are able to feel the horrible impact of the war on a larger scale while not being intimately acquainted with it. Death's imagery, his voice, is comforting and haunting all at the same time. Third, it is a story told through a procession of books, through a love of books.
I found this to be a story of childhood, friendship, rebellion, bravery, loss, books, words, and most of all love in the midst of WWII Germany. This is a beautifully written story. A book that is worth your time to get to know.